Politics

EPA’s new ozone regulations overburden local governments, say critics

Photo of Matthew Boyle
Matthew Boyle
Investigative Reporter

The Environmental Protection Agency is driving a new ozone regulatory agenda that critics say will cripple local governments, small businesses and other industries nationwide.

President Barack Obama’s EPA aims to reduce the acceptable level of ozone in any given region from 75 parts per billion to between 60 and 70 parts per billion.

If implemented, the regulations would force local governments that fail to attain this goal to develop their own plans to reduce their ozone levels.

Critics say the new EPA target levels are overly burdensome and unrealistic.

“The EPA has set the proposed range so low, between 60 and 70 ppb, that they’re getting very close to background levels,” Alicia Meads, energy and resources policy director for the National Association of Manufacturers, said. “So, essentially, if the EPA sets it close to 60 ppb, areas like Yellowstone National Park are going to be in non-attainment.”

In addition to expected job losses, Meads said costs for meeting these new regulations would be split between local governments, small businesses and industry.

In a letter to Obama urging him to stop these regulations, a coalition between NAM and 35 state-level manufacturing associations cites a Manufacturers Alliance study that estimates the EPA’s new ozone regulations would eliminate 7.3 million jobs by 2020.

If local governments refuse to comply with these mandates, Mike McKenna of the American Energy Alliance said they will put their federal highway funds in jeopardy. The EPA could also take over the local government and develop a plan for them.

According to McKenna, athough the EPA doesn’t administer federal highway funding, the Clean Air Act gives the agency the power to withhold the funding if local governments don’t follow its mandates.

McKenna expects a bipartisan push against the EPA once local governments become aware of the  impact. “It’s going to be mayhem, and it’s going to be bipartisan mayhem,” he said. “When you look at the map of who’s going to be out of attainment, a huge chunk of the areas are run by Democratic mayors.”

The Bush administration lowered the acceptable ozone levels to 75 ppb in 2008. Since the EPA was not required to revisit the issue for five years and no court has required a further reduction in acceptable ozone levels, critics are questioning the timing of the new regulations.

“As soon as Obama was elected president, the radicals at the EPA are just running wild,” Tom Borelli, the director of the National Center for Public Policy Research’s Free Enterprise Project, argued. “Counties and business were trying to address that [the standard from 2008], but after Obama was elected, they come out and change the rules and move the goal posts again.”

Borelli said that “just like Obamacare,” the EPA is “throwing all these processes and rules to the side” to further its “left-wing environmental agenda.”

“They’re trying to ram as many regulations as they can down our throats now as fast as they can,” Borelli claimed.

Borelli and McKenna both argue that there is a lack of consistent scientific evidence  indicating that there would be any public health or environmental benefits from the new ozone regulations. McKenna said Obama administration officials have “washed their hands of” most concerns economic or environmental experts have raised.

“We’re fighting against a proposed standard that’s not based on much, and is really going to be just disastrous,” McKenna said. “It’d be one thing if it’d be really bad for the economy and it was going to save millions of lives. This is going to wholesale destroy the economy in certain parts of this country and it’s not going to save any lives.”

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  • Bellerian1

    What do you expect from an agency trying to make laws impossible to keep just so that they can ding everyone that violates them for fines as profit.    Yet another waste of space FEDERAL government snowjob.    Like Homeland security and the TSA.   If you work for these companies, yes I said companies, then you are a sellout to the USA.   (as much as they like to pretend to be an “agency” they are just bloated companies funded to control their facet of society in a way that benefits the few over the many.  It is time to render useless such worthless institutions and put a stop to the political time bombs that politicians like Obama put in place.)  Most importantly it is time to DECENTRALIZE where and what we do and get back to the roots of knowing the LOCAL community and being PART OF IT!    Centralization is the fulcrum of control and those 1% behind the scenes know this and thus work towards ever greater centralization.  Defeat this mechanism thru supporting your LOCAL ventures.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andre-Girnau/100000088336554 Andre Girnau

    First CO2 which plants need to breath not Ozone which keeps the planet safe from the sun overheating and cooking the planet the ozone layer isn’t even made by man butthe suns interreaction with the upper atmosphere. So getting rid of Ozone would cook the planet . If these idiots who claim to be scientists pushing Global waming get tehir way this world and everyone on it is dead. Hey but at least we got all the anti life zealots on one planet now. You see earth is really a high security prison and the conservatives are just trapped ere till judgment day with the true monsters of the universe the left. .

  • Anonymous

    Along with everything else Obama has said and done in the last several years; republicans, democrats, independents, rich, poor, sick, well, employed, unemployed, union, non-union, smart, ignorant; must honestly ask themselves; why would he do these thing?  To many people seem to be  random and disconnected; yet in reality are all connected and by design.