Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted October 2, 2015
A number of Americans may look at some of the mixed reaction to the Obama administration’s release of new, more restrictive ozone standards and conclude that if industry and business groups and environmental activists all are unhappy with the final standards, then the administration must be congratulated for splitting the difference.
As measured as that sounds, it’s simply the wrong approach for setting air quality policy – and lots of Americans are likely to be caught up in the impacts.
As noted in this post, changing national ozone standards from the current 75 parts per billion (ppb) to 70 ppb could impact job growth in nearly one-third of the country’s counties or county equivalents, according to an API analysis of EPA data. Instead of 217 counties out of compliance with ozone standards, 958 could be in violation and potentially subject to constraints that could affect business expansion, infrastructure development, transportation projects and other activities in those localities. Shorter: These impacts could be coming to a neighborhood near you – affecting economic growth and job creation.
Posted October 1, 2015
Here’s probably the most important thing to know about new, more restrictive ozone standards announced by the Obama administration: They could impact job growth in nearly one-third of all counties or county equivalents in the United States, according to a recent API analysis of EPA data. That’s 958 counties – up from just 217 under the current standards – projected to be in non-attainment with ozone standards set at 70 parts per billion (ppb).
So, unless Congress acts (as it should), get ready. These new standards will pretty much hit a lot of Americans right where they live – potentially hurting jobs, chilling investment and curbing business activity, for little or no public health benefit.
Posted September 9, 2015
NERA Economic Consulting has a new study warning of potentially dire economic impacts from continued implementation of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), as written into law by Congress.
NERA set up its study that way for good reasons: Despite abundant evidence that RFS mandates for ever-increasing ethanol use in the nation’s fuel supply are detached from reality, and although it’s pretty clear EPA has mismanaged the RFS to the detriment of those obligated to meet its mandates – the ethanol industry insists that the program continue as statutorily set out in 2007.
That, according to NERA, is a roadmap to potential economic calamity and consumer pain.
Posted September 1, 2015
Surely, more state governors soon will echo the concern of Colorado’s John Hickenlooper for the potential economic impacts on his state of stricter ozone standards proposed by EPA. That is, any governor concerned about what it could mean for growth and progress if large chunks of his or her state were declared out of compliance.
In Colorado, that could be more than $19 billion in gross state product losses from 2017 to 2040 and nearly 11,000 lost jobs or job equivalents, according to a study by NERA Economic Consulting.
Posted August 13, 2015
It’s expected that EPA will submit its recommendation for new ozone standards to the White House Office of Management and Budget next week, with the final rule due by Oct. 1.
The final outcome will be momentous. EPA could – and should – leave the existing standards in place at 75 parts per billion (ppb). That would be remarkable, given the long rulemaking process and the agency’s current inclination to regulate more, not less.
Conversely, reducing the standards to 65 ppb or possibly lower would make it the costliest regulation ever, with the potential to halt economic expansion and infrastructure development dead in their tracks. Stricter standards could result in a $270 billion reduction in GDP per year on average from 2017 through 2040 and an annual loss of 2.9 million job equivalents, according to a study by NERA Economic Consulting.
Posted August 10, 2015
API has a new series of online ads that underscore potential risks from EPA’s proposal to impose stricter national ozone standards. The ads focus on potential impacts for individual states including Indiana, Colorado, Missouri, West Virginia and Virginia – which could see more than 38,600 jobs lost.
The key message in the ads is that an unnecessary tightening of ozone standards nationally could have dire effects locally, in each and every state.
Posted July 28, 2015
As a pending energy issue whose lack of resolution is penalizing U.S. consumers and U.S. energy security, the Keystone XL pipeline may be unsurpassed in its importance.
It’s a $5.4 billion piece of strategic energy infrastructure that unfortunately has become a political football during nearly seven years of White House delay. It’s delay not based on Keystone XL’s energy and economic merits or its climate impacts – all exhaustively analyzed by five U.S. State Department reviews (latest one here). Rather, the project has been delayed because of an extreme, off-oil agenda whose proponents made a privately financed infrastructure project that this country needs into a political symbol.
Posted July 22, 2015
An informative event this week hosted by the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy, highlighting some potential real-world impacts of EPA’s proposal to tighten national ozone standards. Underscore “real-world impacts,” because the discussion centered on the potential havoc EPA’s proposal could unleash on transportation projects all over the country. “There’s going to be real people who’re going to be really upset,” said Karen A. Harbert, Institute president and CEO.
It’s important to see EPA’s ozone proposal in that light. The possible macro-economic harm that stricter ozone standards could bring – GDP reduction of $270 billion per year and $3.4 trillion from 2017 to 2040, according to one study – have been discussed here and elsewhere. But individual Americans may or may not relate to them, they’re so large.
The institute discussion and its new report, “Grinding To a Halt – Examining the Impacts of New Ozone Regulations on Key Transportation Projects” – help bring potential problems with stricter ozone standards to Americans’ doorsteps. Or, more specifically, to their daily commutes – which could get tougher if all kinds of transportation projects are terminated or delayed because they’re proposed in areas that would be in nonattainment with the new ozone standards.
Posted July 13, 2015
Another data point in the continuing public discussion of EPA’s plan to make the nation’s standards for ozone more restrictive, even as the existing standards have ozone levels falling 18 percent from 2000 to 2013 – and giving every indication levels will continue to fall. A new study by the Center for Regulatory Solutions (CRS) details how more restrictive ozone standards would impact where a lot of people live: Chicago and the state of Illinois.
According to the study, 21 counties in Illinois would be out of compliance or in “non-attainment” if EPA tightens ground-level standards from the existing 75 parts per billion (ppb) to 65 ppb, as it may do. (The fact is EPA is considering a national level as low as 60 ppb.)
Those 21 counties represent nearly 80 percent of Illinois’ gross domestic product, or $613.4 billion. The CRS study says Cook County and five other counties that surround Chicago would be “ground zero” for the most dramatic ozone reductions, potentially affecting 65 percent of the state’s population, nearly 70 percent of its employment and 73 percent of its GDP.
Posted June 12, 2015
For some time we’ve been talking about EPA’s bid to make the nation’s ozone standards more restrictive.
We’ve expressed puzzlement that the agency wants to impose more stringent standards when the existing ones are working – lowering ozone levels 18 percent between 2000 and 2013 according to EPA’s own data. We’ve noted the lack of scientific and public health justification for stricter standards while highlighting potential risks to the economy. If this week’s House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing on ozone was any measure, the issue has the attention of many in Congress.
Top EPA official Janet McCabe was peppered with questions about economic impacts, the arguable wisdom of stricter standards when areas like Los Angeles don’t meet existing standards and EPA’s push for more stringent standards before the current standards are fully implemented in the states.