The US Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to reduce ozone limits is both costly and unnecessary, 370 state business groups from across the country—including petroleum councils affiliated with the American Petroleum Institute—told White House Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough.
EPA’s current regulations are working, air quality continues to improve, and the United States is leading the world in reducing emissions,” the groups said in an Aug. 13 letter to McDonough.
“New ozone standards could significantly damage the economy by imposing unachievable emissions limits and reduction targets on almost every part of our country, including rural and undeveloped areas,” they continued. “Therefore, we strongly urge you to retain the current ozone standards when finalizing this proposal.”
EPA proposed reducing allowable ground level ozone limits under the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) from 75 ppb, where they were set in 2008, to a 65-70 ppb range late last year (OGJ Online, Nov. 14, 2014). It also said it would take comments on possibly reduce the limits to 60 ppb.
API, the US Chamber of Commerce, and the National Association of Manufacturers have said that emissions have been dropping dramatically and lower limits aren’t necessary, especially since the 2008 program has not been fully implemented. Proposed reductions also could push national parks and other rural areas into non-attainment status, they warned.
Howard J. Feldman, senior director of API’s Regulatory and Scientific Affairs, said the US Energy Information Administration reported that domestic power plant emissions were at their lowest point in 20 years this past April. “Natural gas increasingly replacing coal is responsible,” he said following an Aug. 13 briefing at API headquarters.
“The air is getting cleaner, and the current ozone standards need an opportunity to work,” the groups told McDonough. “Therefore, in light of the potential economic hardship and uncertain benefits related to the stringent ozone standards that EPA is now considering, we call on EPA to retain the existing ozone standards in the final rule.”
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