Last month, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finally released guidelines for regulations that were put in place back in 2008 to reduce ozone levels to 75 parts per billion (ppb). Yet before states even had an opportunity to make efforts to achieve these levels, the EPA has already begun planning to implement even more onerous regulations. 

Even though 40 percent of the U.S. population lives in areas already unable to meet the 2008 air quality standards that the EPA previously put in place, the agency now wants to cut levels even further, potentially as low as 65 ppb. 

These new regulations would likely have disastrous results for the economy.  The National Association of Manufacturers estimates that the new ozone regulation could reduce U.S. GDP by $270 billion per year and $3.4 trillion from 2017 to 2040 and result in 2.9 million fewer jobs or job equivalents per year on average through 2040.
Such a massive increase in ozone regulations is not even certain to have a positive impact on the environment or public health. 

Louis Anthony Cox Jr., Chief Sciences Officer of NextHealth Technologies explains

“If we look at actual data instead of at EPA’s model-based predictions, it is clear that, in many places in the United States, much larger reductions in ozone levels have already occurred in recent decades than those that are now being proposed. Yet, these relatively large reductions in ozone levels have caused no detectable public health benefits. Therefore, EPA’s assumption that future proposed reductions in ozone will do so is unwarranted. Such changes have been tried and they have not worked: their predicted public health benefits have not materialized.”

In regards to man-made ozone, the U.S is hardly the only country contributing to the overall levels. Emissions from other countries contribute to the global ozone level and affect our air quality here in the U.S. Increasing regulations on ozone levels domestically does not take this factor into consideration, but it certainly puts the American economy at an unnecessary disadvantage endangering jobs and stunting economic growth. All pain for the U.S. economy with little to no proven environmental gain.
Despite using their data to justify jeopardizing American jobs and GDP, the EPA does not currently have the capacity to measure the global effectiveness of their programs in action. USA News reports “only 675 of the nation’s 3,000 counties have ozone monitors currently in place.” This further reinforces the EPA’s inability to actually measure whether such economically devastating regulations are justified.
At a recent hearing on this issue, Representative Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) suggested that over 600,000 small businesses have fallen victim to burdensome regulations under the Obama Administration.  The EPA’s new proposal will merely add to this staggering statistic.  


Photo credit: Neon Tommy