U.S. Chamber: EPA’s Tightened Ozone Standard Will Harm America’s Economic Growth

Thursday, October 1, 2015 - 2:00pm

New Regulation to Halt Business Expansion and Stunt Job Creation

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today voiced its opposition to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final new National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone. By requiring a 70 parts per billion (ppb) level, the agency is ignoring calls from the business community and American workers who urged the agency to keep the standard at the current 75 ppb.

“The Obama administration’s endless regulatory overreach continues with tightened ozone rules that will present considerable problems for America’s economy, job creation, and the construction of critical infrastructure projects,” said U.S. Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President for Government Affairs Bruce Josten. “Ignoring local and state officials’ warnings, the final standard will be extremely difficult for many areas to comply with, some of which have large amounts of naturally-occurring background ozone that is beyond their control. The fact that many national parks far from population centers will violate the new standard is proof that it makes little sense.”

Leading up to this new regulation, the Chamber actively engaged local communities through forums examining how a lower ozone standard would threaten local jobs and economic growth. Panel discussions included government officials, business leaders and local Chambers of Commerce.

Additionally, the Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy issued a series of reports, titled Grinding to a Halt, explaining how EPA’s tightened ozone standards could impact critical transportation projects nationwide. Under the Clean Air Act, the federal government is authorized to withhold transportation funding and halt permitting for highway and transit projects in regions unable to demonstrate compliance with emissions rules.

“As the Chamber’s advocacy efforts have demonstrated, non-compliance with the new ozone standard could halt business expansion and employment growth across the country,” Josten added. “We will now look at all available options to help ease the harmful impacts of this rule, which unfairly punishes localities and businesses that have been making great progress on air quality for decades.”

Over the past three decades, the country’s air quality has improved dramatically with ozone concentrations down 33 percent since 1980. In that same period of time, ozone-forming emissions have been cut in half. 

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.