Last week the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized new regulations that could cripple the American manufacturing resurgence and negatively impact communities throughout the nation. The EPA tightened the national standard on ozone to 70 parts per billion (ppb), a five-point drop from the Bush-era 2008 standard set at 75 ppb. According to industry experts, this new ozone standard is poised to be the "most expensive regulation in U.S. history."
The manufacturing sector has experienced resurgence in recent years. Manufacturing is a major component of the nation's economy - employing more than 12 million Americans and contributing $2.09 trillion to the U.S. economy annually. The new EPA ozone rules threaten to erase this economic progress.
Manufacturers will be required to install costly new technology to comply with the regulation or pay hefty fines. Such technology costs millions of dollars, and will undoubtedly cause many firms, especially small businesses, to shut down. Stifling the manufacturing industry will have drastic effects on the national economy; the regulation will shrink the country's GDP by billions and destroy thousands of jobs. Once a new ozone standard takes effect, it is difficult - if not impossible - to revert back to an older standard. This renders the economic damage permanent.
These new standards will cost taxpayers billions of dollars. From the EPA's own estimates, lowering the standard will cost the federal government roughly $3.9 billion to implement. However, this cost is a mere fraction of the cost on local government.
Such stringent regulations also present a huge cost for thousands of communities throughout the nation. Local governments will be required to install pollution-control equipment on manufacturing facilities, power plants, chemical plants, and even cars. Numerous counties throughout the nation already face difficulty complying with the 75 ppb standard. Failure to comply with the standards subjects these communities to increased federal oversight.
Government officials will be forced to submit State Implementation Plans to the EPA that detail how communities in nonattainment will reach the ozone goal. If they fail to reach these goals they can lose federal funding for local revitalization, notably highway funding. Lowering the standards means even more communities will fall prey to the control of the federal government. For this reason, numerous local and state officials from both parties oppose tightening ozone standards.
The new rules could also force many businesses to shutter their doors, causing thousands of people to lose their jobs, including in Obama's hometown Chicago. To illustrate, Timothy Cullerton, a seasoned Chicago city councilman, said these standards are estimated to cost the state $9 billion and destroy 35,000 jobs.
As evident, the new 70 ppb ozone limit will stifle American manufacturing, kill jobs, and have drastic economic impacts on communities throughout the nation. The standard will create disastrous effects on the national economy and erode the autonomy of local government.
The EPA's recent actions are another egregious example of federal regulatory overreach. These new regulations are not only unnecessary given recent emissions trends, but will negatively impact the livelihoods of thousands of workers, the vitality of American manufacturing, and the country's economic future.