EPA’s Tighter Ozone Rule Would Devastate Ohio Companies And Communities

This week, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Black Chamber of Commerce and the Ohio State Black Chamber of Commerce sponsored an event in central Ohio to highlight their concerns with U.S. EPA’s proposal to tighten the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for Ozone emissions. Intense concerns stem from the significantly increased cost to live and operate a business in non-attainment areas, which covers 80% of Ohio’s population under the proposed rule. Subsequent to the central Ohio event, a new report by the Center for Regulatory Solutions was released on Monday which details the economic threat a lower Ozone rule would have on Ohio.

As outlined in a previous blog, US EPA’s current NAAQS for Ozone was set at 75ppb (parts per billion) in 2008. Today, there are several counties in Ohio and close to 300 more nationally that have not achieved reductions below that level. An analysis of the recent proposal for a lower compliance standard between 65-70ppb has shown that all Ohio counties in non-attainment with 65ppb and nearly half in non-attainment with 70ppb. For these reasons, groups like the National Association of Manufacturers’ have coined this new rule, “the most expensive regulation in U.S. History.”

During the forums panel discussion William Kovacs, Senior Vice President of Environment, Technology & Regulatory Affairs at the US Chamber of Commerce said, “Under tightened standards, Ohio small businesses will likely halt expansion plans and outside development will look to other regions.”

NBCC President and CEO Harry C. Alford concluded, “This regulation would stall economic development in communities from coast to coast, with urban areas in particular coming out on the losing end.  While minorities find President Obama’s environmental record admirable, they clearly understand the focus needs to be on jobs and growth.  And the Ozone rule doesn’t fit that bill.”

That’s why the Ohio Chamber submitted comments last fall requesting EPA maintain the current 75ppb standard until a larger portion of states have fully reached compliance. The EPA is planning to release their conclusions on a lower Ozone standard by October 1, 2015.