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New Report: EPA’s Proposed Ozone Standards Would Impose a “Construction Ban” on 18 of 20 Top Metro Economies

A new report, published by the Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC), warns that the U.S. EPA’s proposed National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for Ozone would effectively impose sanctions on 18 of the top 20 metro area economies by pushing them into non-attainment status.

If an area is in nonattainment, then it is essentially prohibited from allowing new business to come to town.  EPA is currently considering lowering the ozone standard to either 65 ppb (parts per billion) or 70 ppb.

According to a recent report issued by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), a standard of 65 ppb would impose a $140 billion annual price tag and would put over one million jobs at risk.

The BRAC report also notes that the EPA’s proposal to tighten the regulation is already having an economic cost in Louisiana:

Since the EPA first proposed lowering the ozone standard in December, the Baton Rouge Area has seen four major industrial projects totaling 2,000 direct and indirect jobs, and more than $7 billion in capital investment, either put on hold or redirected elsewhere.  These losses are in direct correlation with the uncertainty created by the newly proposed ozone standards rule.

Of note, the BRAC report demonstrates that such standards would hit top performing economies – including job creating juggernauts in Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, and Pennsylvania.  In fact, none of the top 10 economies would be considered in attainment if the EPA lowers the standard to 65 ppb.  Such a move would have a large and negative impact on the domestic energy sector.

The EPA argues that a lower ozone standard is needed to protect public health, but research from Energy In Depth has outlined the questionable data that EPA used to claim the new rule would deliver significant health benefits. The value EPA now places on the new standard is as much as 3,100 percent higher than what the Agency claimed the same rule would yield in 2011.

For more information on the economic impacts of EPA’s ozone regulation, see our infographic here.

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