Tag: ozone standards

A Lower Ozone Standard Will Hurt Entire Economy

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.

 

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NAM Joins in Filing Reply Brief on the EPA Ozone Limits Case

Today the National Association of Manufacturers is part of a group that filed a reply brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in the Mississippi V. EPA case on the 2008 ozone limits. This brief was filed in response to the briefs filed by the EPA and other environmental groups who have intervened in the case.

This case dates back to the EPA’s reconsidered ozone standard from 2008 which lowered the National Ambient Air Quality Standards to .075 ppm. The brief filed today reiterates the NAM’s position that the EPA did not have sufficient evidence in the record to justify its conclusion that the public health risk from ozone was any different in 2008 than it was in 1997 when the last ozone standard was set.

Also the brief argues that the EPA failed to justify why the 1997 standard was no longer “requisite,” as required by the statute, to protect public health with an adequate margin of safety. The agency also failed to rely on air quality criteria that accurately reflect the latest scientific knowledge, and set secondary standards based on the defective primary standard.

The EPA’s ozone standard threatens the competitiveness of manufacturers and businesses of all sizes throughout the country. In September of last year President Obama decided to delay another reconsideration to lower the standard even further. This would have been detrimental to our economy and would have driven job growth to a halt.

The ozone reconsideration is just another example EPA regulations causing uncertainty for manufacturers. We need certainty from Washington, not more of the same costly regulations that are hurting manufacturers’ ability to create jobs and grow.

Quentin Riegel is vice president of litigation and deputy general counsel, National Association of Manufacturers.

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EPA Moves Ahead on Implementing Ozone Air Quality Standards

Forty-five areas across the country got some bad news from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today when it released information about what parts of the country are not meeting the 2008 air quality standards for ground-level ozone (i.e. ozone NAAQS). The map below shows the regions that are considered “non-attainment” areas:

Getting slapped with a non-attainment designation is a big deal for the geographic regions highlighted on the map. Just a few of the economic consequences of being a non-attainment area include:

  • Restrictive permitting requirements for new industrial facilities or for existing facilities that make major modifications.
  • Greater EPA involvement and oversight in permit decisions and continuing oversight by the Agency in permitting decisions even after the area has met the air quality standards.
  • Loss of federal highway and transit funding – beginning one year from the date of the designation, federally-supported highway and transit projects cannot proceed in the area unless the state can demonstrate that the project will cause no increase in ozone emissions.
  • Loss of industry and economic development in the area – any company interested in building a facility that emits ozone will probably not build a facility in the area due to the increased costs associated with the restrictive and expensive permit requirements.

Manufacturers continue to be extremely concerned about the EPA’s implementation of the current air quality standards and new standards for particulate matter (i.e. PM2.5) which are scheduled to be proposed in the next few months. As our nations job creators try to get our economy back on track, stringent air quality regulations and standards continually work to derail their progress.

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NAM Urges President Obama to Delay EPA Ozone Standards

Yesterday the National Association of Manufacturers was joined by other business groups in sending a letter to President Obama urging him to delay issueing new ozone standards until 2013.

From the letter:

All of us value clean air. The companies we represent, their employees and their managers all care about the quality of the air that Americans breathe. All of us breathe the same air and so do our families. We appreciate the fact that ground-level ozone levels continue to drop across most of the United States under the current de facto standard established in 1997. Moreover, U.S. companies are proactively making significant investments to meet the stricter de jure standard established in 2008, even though it has not yet been implemented.

 The newest standard proposed by EPA, however, likely would cast hundreds of counties across the United States out of compliance, making it difficult for businesses to build new facilities in those counties or expand existing ones. Further, EPA has estimated the proposed standard will cost between $20 and $90 billion annually. In our view, EPA’s estimate is based on optimistic assumptions about the development of new control technology, meaning that the costs and impact on jobs and economic growth could be much worse.

With the stalled economic recovery and manufacturing growth slowing now is not the time to impose additional costly regulations on manufacturers.

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Representatives Question Administration’s Discretionary Ozone NAAQS Reconsideration

Leaders of the House Energy & Commerce CommitteeChairman Upton (R-MI) and Reps. Whitfield (R-KY) and Stearns (R-FL) – sent a letter to  Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson asking pointed questions about her voluntary choice to establish more stringent National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ozone as the economy struggles to emerge from the worst recession in a generation. The letter states:

“Your choice to promulgate alternate costly new standards outside of the Clean Air Act’s normal five year review cycle defies common sense. The discretionary basis for such expensive decisions also raises serious questions about the Administration’s priorities at a time when the nation’s focus should be on economic recovery and job creation.”

The lawmakers also stated they will be using the information to prepare for a serious of hearings on the ozone standards after August recess.

Manufacturers are thrilled with the Committee’s plans to hold hearings on the proposed ozone standards which, if set at 60 parts-per-billion, could cost 7.3 million jobs by 2020 and add $1 trillion per year in new regulatory burdens between 2020 and 2030. While the EPA had initially planned to finalize the standard by July 29, significant pressure from the NAM and other industry groups have caused the agency to delay the final standard until sometime in August. We urge manufacturers to take action, and write President Obama in opposition to this completely discretionary new ozone standard that is the most expensive regulation ever proposed by any Administration or Agency.

Alicia Meads is director of energy and resources policy, National Association of Manufacturers

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Manufacturers, Business Community Question Discretionary Action by Administration on Ozone Standards

Today, Aric Newhouse, senior vice president for policy and government relations at the NAM, joined several industry leaders to discuss with the media the negative impacts of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed ozone standards on jobs and economic growth.

Newhouse participated along with Governor John Engler, president of the Business Roundtable (BRT); Jack Gerard, president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute (API); Cal Dooley, president and CEO of the American Chemistry Council (ACC); and Bruce Josten, executive vice president for government affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Aric Newhouse and industry representatives discuss the EPA Ozone Standards

Aric Newhouse and industry representatives discuss the EPA Ozone Standards

Newhouse explained that manufacturers in the U.S. start each day at an 18 percent disadvantage (excluding labor costs) compared to their competitors outside the U.S. Increasing the cost of manufacturing in the U.S. to comply with burdensome and costly regulations is unacceptable and will only continue to diminish our global competitiveness. Manufacturers are looking for a common-sense, balanced approach to regulatory policy. Unfortunately, these proposed ozone standards do not present such an approach.

He urged the EPA to hold off on current action until the next statutory review is required in 18 months, allowing for an appropriate review with new data and scientific studies on ozone regulations. By moving forward now, the Administration is using stale data gathered prior to 2008 to formulate these proposed ozone standards, ignoring the real-life effects their actions will have on a wide range of industry sectors.

The cost of nonattainment will make it difficult for manufacturers to grow and lead the economic recovery because these new ozone standards are excessive and unrealistic. These standards will affect a broad spectrum of industries and will freeze the economy, preventing future investment, expanded operations and job creation. The President must put the brakes on the EPA and use his authority to stop the Agency from continuing to impose new, irrational ozone regulations.

Additionally, last Friday, NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons, along with several other trade association representatives, met with EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to discuss these proposed new ozone standards. Timmons conveyed the business community’s concern with the new proposal and told the Administrator that these standards would stifle economic growth and job creation.

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Circumnetting Energy, Drilling, the EPA, Administrator Jackson

Washington Post, “EPA chief Lisa Jackson perpetually on Capitol Hill hot seat“:

Republicans say that studies such as one by two manufacturers’ groups projected that 7 million jobs would be lost in the decade beginning in 2020 if their client organizations are forced to pay up to $1 trillion to meet the EPA’s ozone standards, said Alicia Meads, director of energy and resource policy for the National Association of Manufacturers. Meads also cited a study by the Council for Industrial Boiler Owners that said 16,000 jobs would be lost for every $1 billion spent to comply with EPA boiler regulations.

“We consider it an overreach,” Meads said. “This administration has been extremely aggressive in environmental regulations, and it’s very hard for our members to keep up with them.”

Wall Street Journal, “EPA Tangles with New Critic: Labor“:

WASHINGTON—The Obama administration’s environmental agenda, long a target of American business, is beginning to take fire from some of the Democratic Party’s most reliable supporters: Labor unions.

Several unions with strong influence in key states are demanding that the Environmental Protection Agency soften new regulations aimed at pollution associated with coal-fired power plants. Their contention: Roughly half a dozen rules expected to roll out within the next two years could put thousands of jobs in jeopardy and damage the party’s 2012 election prospects.

House Energy and Commerce news release, March 8, “Upton, Inhofe Question Process for Reconsidering EPA’s Ozone Standards“: (continue reading…)

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Mr. President, if Jobs are a Priority, Why the Regulatory Overkill?

President Obama holds a White House news conference at 11 a.m. today. We hope reporters have time for questions about the economy after all the folderol about Florida book burning.

May we respectfully suggest a query along the lines of:

Mr. President, even as you promote tax cuts on business to help spur growth and job creation, employers and business groups are protesting the vast expansion of federal regulations that add to their costs and worsen economic uncertainty. As a representative of the National Association of Manufacturers recently testified before the EPA:

Manufacturers are attempting to fully recover from the steepest economic downturn since the 1930s and bring back the 2.2 million high-wage jobs lost during the previous recession. Federal policy makers should create conditions that will lead to economic expansion and not stifle the vitality necessary to create jobs.

The NAM and its member companies are confronting an avalanche of additional rules and regulations from EPA including the reconsideration of the 2008 “Ozone Standard,” the Boiler MACT rule, and the imposition of first-time federal regulations on greenhouse gas emissions.

Are employers right to be concerned? Some have even suggested a moratorium on new, non-emergency regulations to allow the economy to recover. Would you consider such a one- or two-year halt to these new regulations?

Or, alternatively, a more direct question: “Mr. President, do you have any idea what your EPA is up to?”

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