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Energy Tomorrow Blog

The Ozone Regulatory Revolving Door

ozone standards  epa  regulation  air quality  economic impacts  job losses 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted February 3, 2015

Politico reports (subscription required) that the White House Office of Management and Budget on Friday finished review of EPA’s final rule to set state implementation plan requirements for the agency’s 2008 ozone standards.

Here’s the significance of that piece of wonky news: Even before EPA has finished telling the states how to implement the 2008 ozone standards, the agency already is well into setting new, potentially stricter standards. Regulation for regulation sake? It would be hard to find a better illustration.

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Ozone Science, Facts Should Guide Public Debate

ozone standards  air quality  economic impacts  job losses  epa regulation  policy 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted January 29, 2015

With EPA opening public hearings (subscription required) on its proposed new ground-level ozone standards, it’s important that we not let some key facts get lost in the wave of comments and anecdotes that results when there’s an open microphone available.

At issue is EPA’s plan to make more restrictive the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for ozone, from the current 75 parts per billion (ppb) to between 65 and 70 ppb. The agency is collecting input until mid-March before finalizing the rule this fall.

We’ve made the case before that the existing standards are working, that our air is getting cleaner and will continue to do so with the current rule. In short, there’s no good reason to make the standards more stringent. That’s what the science shows, as experts detailed at EPA’s hearing in Washington, D.C. (here and here). Indeed, EPA’s own data shows that ozone levels have fallen 33 percent since 1980, including 18 percent since 2000.

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Putting the Brakes on Chicago’s E15 Mandate

e15  ethanol in gasoline  renewable fuel standard  rfs34  consumers  engine safety  economic impacts 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted December 16, 2014

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his allies on the city council deserve credit for putting a stop – for now at least – to an ill-conceived proposal that would mandate the sale of higher ethanol blend E15 fuel at city service stations.

We say ill-conceived because, as argued here and here earlier this year, the E15 requirement could be full of risk for consumers and small business owners – while mainly benefiting ethanol producers. Recently, AAA urged Chicago lawmakers to vote against the ordinance.

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Progress on Ozone – Without Stifling the Economy

ozone pollution standard  epa regulation  economic impacts  air quality 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted November 25, 2014

Experts believe EPA soon will issue its proposal for the five-year review of Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards, perhaps as early as this week. Some important points to consider as the agency prepares what could be the costliest regulation ever imposed on Americans:

First, our air is getting cleaner under the current 75 parts per billion (ppb) standards set in 2008. EPA reports that national average ozone levels have fallen 33 percent since 1980 – including 18 percent since 2000.

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Stricter Ozone Rule = Nonattainment for Arkansas

ozone  ozone standards  economic impacts  arkansas  epa  emissions  jobs  Economy 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted August 22, 2014

The national standard for ground-level ozone hardly needs tinkering. As noted  earlier this year by Howard Feldman, API’s director of scientific and regulatory affairs, air quality in the U.S. has been steadily improving in recent years, and the health case for a more stringent ozone standard, which EPA may propose, hasn’t been made:

“We recognize that EPA has a statutory duty to periodically review the standards. However, the current review of health studies has not identified compelling evidence for more stringent standards. Tightened standards could impose unachievable emission reduction requirements on virtually every part of the nation, including rural and undeveloped areas. These could be the costliest EPA regulations ever.”

Costly nationally and to the states individually. A report for the National Association of Manufacturers says the U.S. could see a $270 billion per year reduction in GDP and 2.9 million fewer job equivalents per year on average through 2040. We’ve looked at potential state impacts in North CarolinaOhioLouisianaKentucky and Michigan. Today, Arkansas:

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Stricter Ozone Rule = Nonattainment for Michigan

ozone standards  economic impacts  michigan  epa  emissions 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted August 21, 2014

As with other states we’ve recently highlighted – North CarolinaOhioLouisiana and Kentucky – the impacts of more stringent standards for ground-level ozone on Michigan could be wide and significant. According to a recentreport from the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), Michigan could see $75.3 billion gross state product loss from 2017 to 2040 and 83,092 lost jobs or job equivalents per year.

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Stricter Ozone Rule = Nonattainment for Louisiana

ozone standards  epa  louisiana  economic impacts 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted August 18, 2014

Louisiana is an important energy-producing state – the country’s No. 2 crude oil producer at nearly 1.45 million barrels per day when federal offshore output is included. The state also is No. 2 in petroleum refining capacity.

Energy development is boosting Louisiana’s economy. Oil and natural gas extraction, refining and the pipeline industries support 287,000 state jobs and billions in household earnings and sales to state businesses, according to arecent study. At the same time, energy activity is part of the reason new, stricter ground-level ozone standards could have major impacts in Louisiana.

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Stricter Ozone Rule = Nonattainment for Ohio

ozone standards  ohio  epa regulation  economic impacts  emissions 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted August 15, 2014

Yesterday, we highlighted the potential impacts of a new, stricter ground-level ozone standard for North Carolina – reduced economy, job losses and more. Today, a look at Ohio. 

Every county in Ohio would be in nonattainment or non-compliance with an ozone standard of 60 parts per billion (ppb), which EPA is considering to replace the current 75 ppb standard. Counties in red are those with ozone monitors located in them; those in orange are unmonitored areas that could be expected to violate the 60 ppb standard, based on spatial interpolation.

The potential economic costs to Ohio would be significant. The state could see $204.3 billion in gross state product loss from 2017 to 2040 and 218,415 lost jobs or job equivalents per year. On a practical level, manufacturers wouldn’t be able to expand to counties in red or orange unless other businesses shut down, and federal highway funds could be frozen. 

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Stricter Ozone Rule = Nonattainment for North Carolina

ozone standards  epa  regulation  economic impacts  emissions 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted August 14, 2014

Earlier this month the National Association of Manufacturers issued a report measuring the potential impacts of a new, stricter ground-level ozone air quality standard that’s being proposed by EPA. The estimated national results are economically devastating: reduction of U.S. GDP by $270 billion per year, 2.9 million fewer job equivalents per year on average through 2040 and potentially increased natural gas and electricity costs for manufacturers and households.

The picture is the same on a state-by-state basis. Over the next few days we’ll highlight some of the individual state impacts from the report, starting with North Carolina.

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Bearing the Weight of EPA’s Regulatory Push

epa regulations  emissions  ozone standards  economic impacts 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted July 31, 2014

A couple of new warning lights concerning EPA’s regulatory approach in proposed standards for power sector emissions as well as the anticipated standard for ozone. In both cases the agency appears poised to regulate without thoroughly reckoning potential impacts that could harm the economy and individual consumers.

First, there’s EPA’s effort to regulate power sector emissions – with carbon pollution guidelines proposed for existing power plants, on top of the already proposed guidelines for new electric utility generating units.

Howard Feldman, API’s director of regulatory and scientific affairs, testified at EPA field hearings this week that the agency’s proposals could result in higher energy costs, impacting the oil and natural gas industry’s international competitiveness and negatively affecting the broader economy. Feldman also warned that the proposals could set a precedent for EPA incursion into management of the power sector that’s beyond its authority under the Clean Air Act.

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