As the economy fails to gain traction, the Obama administration is proposing an additional burden—new, tougher ozone (air quality) regulations. This is not only curious; it’s simply bad public policy. The air we breathe today is as clean as it has been since the Environmental Protection Agency starting collecting information, but new strict regulations could cost 7.3 million Americans their jobs.
EPA is signaling that it is finalizing rules reducing the National Ambient Air Quality Standards program’s currently mandated 75 parts per billion (ppb) ozone standard to a level between 60 ppb and 70 ppb. By almost any given analysis, the impact on the nation’s economy will be nothing short of devastating.
Every state affected by this new regulation could lose tens of thousands of jobs, according to a bipartisan letter signed by a group of 34 U.S. Senators led by Senators Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.). According to some estimates, the new rule could mean the loss of 7.3 million jobs, or 4.3 percent of the workforce in 2020.
By its own admission, the EPA’s turn of the screw would cost business and industry dearly. Yet it could only identify known controls for 5 percent of the emission reductions required to come into compliance and had to guess, estimating costs at a paltry $90 billion annually by 2020. In two independent analyses, the Manufacturers Alliance and the American Petroleum Institute both place the price tag at $1 trillion on an annual basis from 2020 to 2030. In Pennsylvania alone, individuals and businesses could incur up to $3.2 billion while gross regional production could decline more than $31 billion by 2020, according to the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry.