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  • EPA's Tighter Ozone Standards Will Strangle Economic Recovery

    A few weeks ago, the President asked Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson to withdraw the agency’s draft for more stringent Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). Although Jackson begrudgingly complied, the EPA is still moving to an ozone standard more stringent than the current one.

    The current ozone standard of 84 parts per billion (the concentration of ozone in the air over an 8-hour period—a drop of gasoline in a tanker truck is one ppb) prevailed while the EPA tried to implement even stricter rules, but since President Obama scrapped those plans, the EPA is moving to enforce the 75 ppb that was adopted in 2008.

    The costs for states and areas to comply with a tightened ozone standard are substantial, and it will increase the number of areas in nonattainment—areas in which ozone standards are higher than the regulated amount. These federal mandates can discourage companies from expanding or force them to implement costly emission-reduction technologies. The Wall Street Journal reports:

    There are 52 areas where air quality fails to meet the 2008 standard, the EPA said in a memo to state officials. Among them are Baltimore, San Diego, Dallas-Fort Worth and parts of Los Angeles. Ms. Jackson said the EPA would enforce the standard in a “common-sense way” to minimize the burden on state and local governments. The Bush-era standard, while more lenient than the 60 to 70 parts-per-billion level considered by the Obama administration, would still harm the economy, according to business groups. Howard Feldman, director of regulatory and scientific affairs at the American Petroleum Institute, said 75 parts per billion would be costly to implement and damaging to job creation. “The tighter the standards get, they become a much larger hurdle to meet,” Mr. Feldman said.

    The massive costs of tightening the standard have outweighed the negligible environmental benefits in the past, and enforcing the 75 ppb will have diminishing marginal returns—possibly to the vanishing point. Even the EPA acknowledged lowering the ozone standard to 70 ppb would only lower asthma and respiratory diseases a few tenths of a percent. Enforcing a standard of 75 ppb would have a similar marginal benefit.

    It’s important to note that the causality between a more stringent ozone standard and better health effects is unclear, to say the least. The American Enterprise Institute’s Joel Schwartz and the National Center for Policy Analysis’ Sterling Burnett write:

    The most serious charge against ozone is that it kills thousands of people prematurely each year. But, like most other claims of harm from low-level air pollution, this one rests on indirect evidence from so-called “observational” epidemiology studies–studies in which researchers look for correlations between air pollution and risk of death in large groups of people. Evidence shows that observational studies give spurious results, often “finding” effects that aren’t really there, and producing results that reflect researchers’ expectations, rather than reality.

    Both animal and human laboratory studies demonstrate that real-world ozone exposures aren’t deadly. For instance: Animals exposed by researchers to 10 times the ozone levels found in the most polluted American cities did not die. In laboratory studies, college student volunteers who breathed controlled concentrations of ozone 50 percent greater than the current standard while vigorously exercising for six hours registered only small, short-term changes in lung function.

    What is clear and well established, however, is that improved economic well-being means that people are healthier and live longer. A tighter ozone rule will slow economic growth and reduce economic well-being.

    The current ozone standard set by EPA is already more stringent than it needs to be and provides more than enough protection for citizens’ health. President Obama made the right decision when he asked Jackson to withdraw the agency’s draft for even stricter ozone standards. If the President wants to provide regulatory certainty and not increase businesses’ costs, he should tell the EPA to keep the ozone standard where it is.

    te that real-world ozone exposures aren’t deadly. For instance: Animals exposed by researchers to 10 times the ozone levels found in the most polluted American cities did not die. In laboratory studies, college student volunteers who breathed controlled concentrations of ozone 50 percent greater than the current standard while vigorously exercising for six hours registered only small, short-term changes in lung function.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    15 Responses to EPA's Tighter Ozone Standards Will Strangle Economic Recovery

    1. sickly says:

      where is congress? why is America continuing to be held back by the EPA??? REMOVE!!! or be sure and protect people rising above the IMPRACTICAL, IRRATIONALgovernment endorsed EPA CORRUPTION!! can't stand to know these people are high paid for destroying America's economy!! accountability and reprimand! clean out the rif raf!!!!!!!! don't work with it on our expense!!!!

    2. georga collins says:

      Another scientific truth that debunks the EPA's desire to meddle in our lives…and, yes, the EPA's just unhealthy for Americans.

    3. Dawn says:

      As one who has not been able to secure steady employment in over 3 years am tired of the EPA's constant doom and gloom reports of what they believe needs to be done and nothing about what has been done. While I am aware that this country and others need some sort of regulations, today I am more interested in keeping food on the table, paying my mortgage, and just maybe going to the movies once a month. To some this may trivial, especially to those who have jobs, but there has got to be a heppy medium somewhere where we can all get this country back to work. Enough is enough. EPA you are alienating me with all your regulation crap as well as you are alienating many who are in the same position as me. We no longer hear your pleas that keep America suppressed.

    4. yeoldgrump says:

      Congress must restrict all powers of all bureaucracies and defund the EPA and dismantle it.

    5. Michael Klein says:

      It is ironic that the 75 ppb standard is being objected to; it was promulgated under the Bush administration.
      A couple of points need to be made:

      1) Pollution doesn't need to be deadly for it to be a public nuisance. Ozone is a known respiratory irritant; people shouldn't have to put up with it if they don't have to.

      2) Many asthmatics and others with respiratory problems would benefit from lower ozone levels.

      3) I'm not convinced that that observational epidemiological studies are as spurious as they are made out to be. What evidence is there for that? Are Schwartz and Burnett claiming that such studies never give accurate results?

      Perhaps a good economic argument can be made for delaying tougher ozone standards. But to put them off indefinitely? I'm not sure that is in the public's interest.

      • Mike, Wichita Falls says:

        The EPA doesn't have to be deadly for it to be a public nuisance either. This is a republican form of government where the people speak and make changes through their elected representatives and are not dictated to by unaccountable bureaucrats. Even our elected represenatives seem unaccountable and unresponsive these days. I hope Lisa Jackson is disappointed enough to resign from the EPA and try to get a real job outside of academia.

        People with asthma and other resiratory problems don't have to live in Baltimore, San Diego, DFW and LA. If they really like their job which requires them to live there, then they need to make a choice; have a nice job and deal with "dirty" air or have a maple tree farm in Vermont.

        If tougher ozone standards would keep a bad economy from reviving, then wouldn't they also help kill a good economy? Who is to blame for this bad economy anyway? I don't accept the premise of putting off tougher regulations for better economic days. They are always a wet blanket for job growth.

        • Michael Klein says:

          Contrary to many of the posts here, I'm proud of the EPA and the effort it has been making to keep the environment clean for all of us. Kudos to both Lisa Jackson and Barack Obama! In response to Mike's post from Wichita Falls, the EPA is accountable to the public, because the public can vote the Obama administration out of office (and probably will). For the scientists and administrators at EPA to act in the public interest, they can't be subject to the changing whims of public opinion. You can't tell people where they may live — thousands of asthmatics and others with respiratory problems will continue to live in cities and their health must be protected. Finally, I'm not convinced that EPA standards are responsible, even partially, for the bad economy. That's what the Republicans say, but I'm not buying it.

          • Boogalie says:

            Mike, neither Lisa Jackson, nor many of the masterminds unders her direction should have the power to employ what THEY believe I need in terms of my health. I understand fully that there is a constructive responsibility (although limited by Congress) that such an Agency should have, but how far are they to go, how much are they to regulate, how much power should they have, and perhaps most importantly how much discretion are they to have in regard to the facilitating and deployment of their decisions. They are not elected, nor should they have unfetterd authority in terms of developing and ENFORCING their own authoritarian decisions. There are currently 4 branches of our government as opposed to what the Founders provided via our Constitution….the 4th is the Administrative Branch. Semper Fi.

      • Bobbie says:

        WHY would we trust people we don't know? like the government granted, DISCERNED AUTHORITY OF THE epa? when there is no proof to their claims? You speak of asthmatics and others with respiratory illness benefiting from lower ozone levels? Tomorrow? When? What about the asthmatic who's only skill is in welding? People have to take discretion when it comes to their health because the last thing people want is personal health controlled by government and the EPA. Learned through experiences, disciplines discretion! The EPA and their ungodly regulations fetish, will weaken, eventually destroying the human immune system.

    6. allen says:

      The EPA and Education Dept. better be History in 2012 or there will be changes in the Congress and they all will know this before running>

    7. Lloyd Scallan says:

      Very simply it's not the EPA or Lisa Jackson, it's Obama! Does anyone actually believe a lackey such as Lisa Jackson could make these type of administrative policie decisions without direct instruciton from Obama? Regardless of how much anyone tries to explain these policies, they cannot unless they fully
      recognize the final results that will cause this nation's economical system to fail.

    8. TimAZ says:

      The EPA has no interest in public health especially when they site the need to reduce Asthma. I can say this because on December 31st EPA will institute a ban on all over the counter Asthma inhalers because they are hazardous to the ozone. The results of this ban will be to advance mild asthma sufferers to a more advanced level of asthma. This will likely cause an increase in deaths of asthma sufferers to occur because not everyone will be able to afford prescription inhalers. Yes the increase in asthma related deaths will be used to bolster the Idea that pollution is rising to deadly levels indicating that the EPA isn't doing enough to reduce pollution levels. When in fact they are purposely advancing mild asthma sufferers to advanced asthma conditions, in order to maintain their position of power, and continue their advancement of socialism upon the American people through falsely perceived environmental crisis of their own creation through the denial of affordable treatment of mild asthma sufferer's with over the counter inhalers. It seems that Obama care isn't the only govt. agency willing to deny healthcare in order to maintain their very existence and continue towards their goal of enslaving the American citizens. They will break as many eggs as necessary to make the omelet that keeps them in power. Had enough yet?

    9. Bill says:

      We must keep enforcement of practical pollution laws. I do not want to go back to the 60-70 with smog and soot everywhere and oil in streams! But we must not over regulate either. We must not stop funding of the EPA and state environmental dept as they must still enforce the needed regs. Business will not volunteer to do the right thing on its own. We still need enforcement.

    10. Larry says:

      What arrogance! Humans controlling the Environment!
      The Environmental Protection Agency thrives on the power to Control American Free Enterprise NOT Protecting our Environment. Even if they (the bureaucrats) were sincere, they accept phony science without question and the impact of uncontrolled pollution in the rest of the world without challenge! San Diego Ca. shares an 80 mile border with no "pollution fence"; have you been to Tijuana lately? Try cooling your home without closing the doors and windows…

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