API, NPRA question the need for EPA's proposed ozone limits

Two witnesses from oil industry trade associations separately questioned the US Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to significantly toughen ground-level ozone emission limits as they testified at EPA hearings in Houston and Arlington, Va.

Nick Snow
OGJ Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, Feb. 2 -- Two witnesses from oil industry trade associations separately questioned the US Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to significantly toughen ground-level ozone emission limits as they testified at EPA hearings in Houston and Arlington, Va.

EPA’s own science does not even support such a move, according to Ted Steichen, a policy advisor at the American Petroleum Institute, and David Friedman, environmental affairs director at the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association.

Neither EPA’s review in 2008 nor more recent studies justify lowering the standard based on the health effects of exposure, Friedman continued in his prepared statement at the hearing in Arlington. “The science…during the 2008 review and the latest studies have not changed the earlier conclusion. In fact, in the current reconsideration, EPA indicates that it will rely only on the previous record and not consider any new evidence,” he said.

Testifying in Houston, Steichen emphasized progress that has been made improving the nation’s air quality in large part through oil and gas industry efforts. More efforts will follow under the existing ozone standards because of pollution controls which are in place or which soon will be implemented, he said.

Cleaner fuels brought to market now and in the future will result in cleaner air for decades to come as cleaner engines are put in place, Friedman said in his prepared statement. “We will see cars and trucks producing significantly lower emissions. In addition, emissions from power plants will be cut in half by 2015. The current National Ambient Air Quality ozone standard is working,” he said.

Moving forward with significantly lower ozone limits if there are no demonstrable benefits could unnecessarily increase energy costs, cut jobs, and reduce domestic energy development and energy security, he continued. “These rules represent a stop sign on the road to economic recovery, and will lead to further loss of American manufacturing jobs and increased reliance on imported gasoline and diesel fuel,” Friedman warned.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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