Release Date: Jun 21, 2007Contact: 888-249-NEWS
Chamber Urges EPA to Maintain Current Ozone Standards
WASHINGTON, DC—The United States Chamber of Commerce today commended the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for taking comments on whether the current standard is adequate, but urged the agency not to tighten National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone.
"We are pleased EPA has left open the possibility that the current ozone standard should not be changed," said Bill Kovacs, Chamber vice president for Environment, Technology and Regulatory Affairs. "However, we are disappointed that EPA appears to be leaning toward tightening the standard when there are several vital factors it has omitted considering thus far, chiefly the effect emissions from foreign nations have on states' abilities to meet ozone standards."
This morning, EPA issued a proposed rule recommending that the 8-hour NAAQS for ozone be lowered to a range between 70 and 75 parts per billion (ppb). However, EPA also has decided to take comments on alternative standards, within a range of 60 ppb up to the current standard of 84 ppb.
Yesterday, the Task Force on Hemispheric Transport of Air Pollution, of which EPA is a member, released a draft interim report finding that foreign emissions constitute a significant share of this nation's background ozone levels. Today's proposed rule appears not to have considered HTAP's findings.
"We know dust from factories in China, India, Mexico and Africa does not simply disappear; the wind brings it here," said Kovacs. "We know that an overwhelming number of steamships docking at ports throughout the United States sail under foreign flags and do not sufficiently curb their emissions. Yet EPA continually refuses to address the impact of these emissions on individual states' abilities to meet clean air standards, instead choosing to punish states for forces they cannot control."
A stricter standard also means the number of counties in ozone non-attainment could more than double, resulting in significant economic consequences. Non-attainment counties can lose coveted federal highway and transit funding. Restrictive permit requirements deter new construction. In some cases, consumers can be affected due to special requirements for vehicles and fuels sold in the area, and for commercial and consumer products.
The U.S. Chamber is the world's largest business federation, representing more than 3 million businesses and organizations of every size, sector and region.
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