Update of earlier NAM study still finds EPA ozone proposal costly

The US Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed 65 ppb ozone standard could reduce US gross domestic product by $140 billion/year and create $1.1 trillion in compliance expenses from 2017 to 2040, National Economic Research Associates said in an update of a July 2014 study commissioned by the National Association of Manufacturers.

The US Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed 65 ppb ozone standard could reduce US gross domestic product by $140 billion/year and create $1.1 trillion in compliance expenses from 2017 to 2040, National Economic Research Associates said in an update of a July 2014 study commissioned by the National Association of Manufacturers.

The earlier study found that EPA’s original proposal to reduce allowable ozone limits to 60 ppb could reduce domestic GDP by $2.2 trillion and create $2.2 trillion in compliance cost during the same period. NAM said the new information nevertheless confirmed its previous conclusion that the proposed rules could be the most expensive regulation in US history.

EPA unveiled its latest ground-level ozone proposal to limit concentrations to a 65-70 ppb range while continuing to take comments on a 60 ppb limit on Nov. 26, 2014. The federal environmental regulator is accepting comments on the full proposal through Mar. 17, NAM said on Feb. 26.

“Manufacturers in the US are in the midst of a resurgence that’s fueling job growth and economic recovery nationwide, but the proposed tightening of the ozone standard puts our momentum at great risk,” NAM Pres. Jay Timmons said of the projections. “This data confirms our long-held concern that revisions to the ozone standard represent one of the most significant threats, not just to our manufacturing sector, but to our economy at large.”

NERA Senior Vice-Pres. and Environment Practice Co-Chair Anne Smith said, “This updated analysis of our July 2014 report reaffirms that attaining a stricter ozone standard would require compliance costs at levels well beyond what the EPA has admitted, and beyond what we have ever estimated for any other EPA regulation. Costs of this magnitude would clearly leave their mark on the US economy.”

The American Petroleum Institute also opposes reducing ozone limits from their current 70 ppb level, which was established in 2008. “Despite having spent billions of dollars on reducing air pollution, several metropolitan areas are having a very tough time meeting the current standards,” it said at its web site. “EPA should focus on helping these communities meet the old standards before placing new standards.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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