In the coming weeks, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will send the Office of Management and Budget a new National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for ozone that will be among the most expensive regulations in our nation’s history. Just a few years ago, the Administration ordered the EPA to abandon a similar rule, citing the need to reduce regulatory burdens in a recovering economy. PESA joined more than 260 organizations requesting that the Administration retain the current ozone standard.
Efforts to reduce ozone are an environmental success story. Ozone levels have improved by 33 percent since 1980 and will improve even more in coming years. Businesses, governments, and individuals have all played critical roles in these achievements. Market-driven innovations and dozens of existing policies to improve fuel economy, increase energy efficiency, and reduce emissions from stationary and mobile sources will drive further air quality improvements over the next decade, and beyond.
We are committed to ensuring a clean and safe environment now and in the future. However, we also stand to bear the brunt of the economic pain from a regulation that will make it difficult to manufacture products, build new projects, produce energy, improve infrastructure and hire the workers needed to make this all happen. A stricter ozone standard could close off communities across the nation to new jobs and economic growth, requiring reductions to near-background levels in many places. We are bound by the limits of technological feasibility, and this regulation mandates controls that even the EPA admits are unknown. When regulations push beyond the achievable, we lose the ability to innovate, create jobs, and unlock the next generation of technologies. The need for balanced government policies and reasonable flexibilities has never been greater, and no single regulation threatens to disrupt this balance more than EPA’s ozone rule.
We join the governors, lieutenant governors, and attorneys general from more than half of U.S. states, as well as the hundreds of federal, state and local elected officials, county commissioners, community leaders, economic development organizations, environmental regulators, transportation boards, and citizens who have written, called, or met with the Administration with their simple, but critical request: Please retain the existing 75 parts per billion (ppb) standard for ground-level ozone. Let us meet these requirements before moving the targets again.