Whitfield holds hearing, thinks ozone could be EPA’s costliest

The Subcommittee on Energy and Power, chaired by Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY), today held a hearing on “EPA’s Proposed Ozone Rule.” The EPA has proposed lowering the 2008 National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone from 75 parts per billion (ppb) to a level between 65-70 ppb even though states and local governments still have not fully implemented the standards set in 2008.

Next week, the Energy and Power Subcommittee will hold a joint hearing with the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade Subcommittee to examine “EPA’s Proposed Ozone Rule: Potential Impacts on Manufacturing.”

“This proposed ozone rule is Exhibit A of skyrocketing marginal costs and diminishing marginal returns. Implementation of the current standard has essentially not yet begun. In Kentucky, we’re going to have 11 more counties in noncompliance at 70, we’re going to have 23 more at 65, and every major city in Kentucky will be at noncompliance at some of these levels. At a minimum, EPA should focus on implementing the ozone rule already on the books before imposing a new one,” said Chairman Whitfield.

Members questioned EPA Acting Assistant Administrator Janet McCabe about the real economic consequences that the proposed revisions could have on families and communities in areas of the country that would be in nonattainment with the proposed new standard.

A county with this designation means they are not in compliance with the existing standard and become subject to additional permitting and other requirements that may make new manufacturing and business expansion, as well as the construction of new transportation and other infrastructure, extremely difficult.

“A nonattainment designation is like a self-imposed recession,” explained Whitfield. Under this proposal, Americans are at risk of losing thousands of jobs. A recent study commissioned by the National Association of Manufacturers concluded that this regulation could cost the economy $140 billion per year and place over one million jobs at risk.

“We’re changing the rules on the fly and the people who are creating jobs in this country cannot handle it,” said Environment and the Economy Subcommittee Chairman John Shimkus (R-IL).