The tighter ozone standard announced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today will lead to higher costs throughout the economy with little or no health benefit for Americans, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) said.
"The costs are too high and the benefits too unclear to impose this new burden on America's manufacturers and employees," said NAM President and CEO John Engler, commenting on the new national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) for ozone. "Anyone interested in preserving high-paying U.S. jobs in manufacturing and keeping a lid on energy prices should be disappointed by today's ruling. Considering America's current domestic economic challenges, this is the wrong move at the wrong time," Engler said. "Air quality is improving across America.
Manufacturers and states have spent enormous resources developing plans to meet the existing ozone standard, which is still being implemented and would have been attained in many states by 2013. Changing the rules now is equivalent to moving the goalposts during the middle of the game. EPA's own studies show that ozone levels have dropped by 21 percent since 1980 and continue to decline.
"Moving to a more stringent standard could have a devastating effect on manufacturing employment. The new standard will make it much more difficult to build new and expand existing refineries in the U.S., leading to higher gasoline prices and more dependence on foreign sources of fuel.
"Stricter environmental controls for companies in non-attainment areas will require billions of dollars in compliance costs. U.S. manufacturers already pay more than $77 billion each year for environmental regulations. The new ozone rule will add significantly to this cost burden. The tighter standard is not based on sound science and will hurt U.S. manufacturing competitiveness and job growth."