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Remarks on ozone standards

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Below are highlights from remarks made by Howard Feldman, API’s Senior Director of Regulatory and Scientific Affairs on ozone standards.

“To put it simply, we urge the administration to keep the current standards, which are not only the strictest standards ever imposed, they are standards that have yet to be fully implemented. Our view is that we need to allow existing regulations to work, and in this case they are, before adding more costly regulations. The facts are clear: the current standards protect our environment while not stifling jobs or harming our economy. Most important, when looking at the science, it is clear that the current standards are protecting public health.”

“The nation’s air is getting cleaner. And air quality will continue to improve as we implement the existing standards. Ground level ozone in the US declined by 18% between 2000 and 2013, and we expect that progress to continue under the current standards. Further tightening of the standards will not improve air quality any faster. But they will add costs to jobs and the economy. As proposed, the new standards would impose unachievable emission reduction requirements on virtually every part of the nation, including rural and undeveloped areas. Even pristine areas with no industrial activity such as national parks would be out of attainment. This is not smart policy or good government.”

“For a primary ozone standard of 60 ppb, which is in the range EPA is considering, 94% of the population lives in places that would be deemed to be out of compliance. As a 65 ppb standards, 45 out of the lower 48 states would have areas that would be out of compliance.”

What does being out of compliance mean?

“With new standards that approach or are even lower than naturally occurring levels, these new rules could restrict virtually any economic activity. In some cases, new development simply would not be feasible or permitted. States would have to place new restrictions on businesses of all sizes and add additional bureaucratic red tape to the permitting process for public works projects.

“New rules could block a new hospital, or a new highway, from being built. That’s what being out of compliance means.

“Needless to say, operating under such stringent requirements could stifle new investment. After all, it is precisely new investments that create jobs, the jobs that underpin our economy. So, here’s what a recent report by NERA economic consulting reveals: A new ozone regulation from the Obama administration could cost US$270 billion /y and place millions of jobs at risk. If President Obama is serious about lifting up the middle class and closing the income inequality gap, the last thing his administration should do is threaten jobs and our energy and manufacturing renaissance with unnecessary new regulations.

“The President talks about America’s energy renaissance. He even tries to take credit for it. But, policy after policy stands to threaten our energy development and our competitiveness around the world. We need policies that make sense. We have many already in place. We need to let them work before adding more. This is a wake up call. The administration must support the energy renaissance and America as an energy superpower and not stand in the way of it.”

Edited from speech by Claira Lloyd

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