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."