PJ Media

Stricter EPA Ozone Rules Could Put 'Entire Country' Out of Business, Industry Group Warns

American Petroleum Institute Director of Regulatory and Scientific Affairs Howard Feldman warned that new ozone regulations currently under review by the Obama administration and the Environmental Protection Agency could put “nearly the entire country” out of business.

“Such strict standards are not justified from a health perspective and are not needed to continue air quality progress,” Feldman said Thursday on a conference call with reporters.

“The potential of significant national economic harm with stricter standards at or below naturally occurring levels is real. Our map shows that nearly the entire country could effectively be closed for business should EPA move forward with this proposal,” said Feldman.

API released a map detailing the possible effect of new ozone regulations.

“Note that the current ozone standards are 75 parts per billion.  For ozone standards of 60 parts per billion, which EPA could propose, 97 percent of the population would live in places out of compliance and subject to new emission reductions requirements,” he said.

“With potential strict standards that approach or are even lower than naturally occurring levels, virtually any human activity that produced emissions could ultimately be restricted or affected. In some cases, new development simply would not be feasible or permitted.”

President Obama decided to delay the standards from taking effect in 2011, but the rules are scheduled for review again this year.

“I have continued to underscore the importance of reducing regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty, particularly as our economy continues to recover. With that in mind, and after careful consideration, I have requested that Administrator Jackson withdraw the draft Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards at this time,” Obama said in September 2011.

“Work is already underway to update a 2006 review of the science that will result in the reconsideration of the ozone standard in 2013. Ultimately, I did not support asking state and local governments to begin implementing a new standard that will soon be reconsidered.”

Obama’s decision drew harsh criticism from environmental groups.

“It is frustrating to see them kowtowing to this notion that you can’t save jobs and the environment, when in reality we know that the best way to have a successful economy is to have healthy people,” said Liz Perera of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“It’s not helping our economy when people have to stay home to care for kids having asthma attacks.”

While many Republicans supported the move, some attributed Obama’s decision to the 2012 presidential election.

“EPA itself estimated that its ozone standard would cost $90 billion a year, while other studies have projected that the rule could cost upwards of a trillion dollars and destroy 7.4 million jobs. By EPA’s own projections, it could put 650 additional counties into the category of ‘non-attainment,’ which is the equivalent of posting a ‘closed for business’ sign on communities,” said an October 2012 report titled “A Look Ahead to EPA Regulations for 2013” released by the Republican staff on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

“Affected counties will suffer from severe EPA-imposed restrictions on job creation and business expansion, including large numbers of plant closures.”

Following Obama’s announcement to call off the implementation of tighter ozone rules, Gina McCarthy, EPA’s assistant administrator for air and regulation, would not comment on his decision.

“The president issued a statement and it should speak for itself,” she said in September 2011.

McCarthy has been nominated by Obama to serve as EPA administrator. PJ Media asked API if they agree with the Senate Republican effort to block her nomination. A spokesperson referred to a previous statement from API President and CEO Jack Gerard.

“We hope McCarthy shares the president’s stated vision for an ‘all-of-the-above’ energy strategy and will support only sound EPA regulations that reduce potential adverse impacts on employment and energy costs while protecting the environment,” he said.

API is a “national trade association that represents all segments of America’s technology-driven oil and natural gas industry. Its more than 500 members – including large integrated companies, exploration and production, refining, marketing, pipeline, and marine businesses, and service and supply firms – provide most of the nation’s energy.”

According to API estimates, “the industry supports 9.2 million U.S. jobs and 7.7 percent of the U.S. economy, delivers $85 million a day in revenue to our government, and, since 2000, has invested over $2 trillion in U.S. capital projects to advance all forms of energy, including alternatives.”