Later this year the EPA Environmental Protection Agency EPA could move forward with a new regulation that could essentially grind economic growth to a halt and cost millions of jobs. The (EPA) will consider lowering the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ozone following a five year review process under the Clean Air Act (CAA). The EPA is expected to consider setting the standard between 60 to 70 parts per billion (ppb), or even lower. The EPA just lowered the standard to 75 ppb in 2008, which has yet to be fully implemented.
So what does this mean for the average business owner? Well if they are in a county or area that has been classified as a “non-attainment” they will have an extremely difficult time expanding or even making modifications to their facility. Manufacturers will be faced with strict area-wide emission limits, increased costs, delays and uncertainties caused by restrictive permit requirements.
Earlier today, the American Petroleum Institute (API) released new maps that project areas likely to be classified as non-attainment should the standard be lowered to 60 ppb – an ozone level EPA considered in 2010 before ultimately holding off. As these maps show, manufacturers in nearly every region of the country could end up in a non-attainment inhibiting economic growth across the country. Such a result could cost millions of jobs, billions of dollars and send our economy back into recession.
When the EPA last considered lowering the standard in 2010 and 2011, EPA’s estimated compliance costs were as much as $90 billion per year, with industry estimates even higher. The Obama Administration temporarily backed off this plan after an aggressive campaign from the business community.