The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

More Stringent Ozone Standard Unjustified

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted February 3, 2010

In testimony delivered in Houston yesterday, API's Policy Advisor Ten Steichen told the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that its proposed new ozone pollution standard would exact significant costs on consumers, jobs and the economy without providing commensurate benefits.

Ted also said that there is no scientific justification for imposing the more stringent standards.

"There is actually far more debate on the science than EPA has represented," Ted said, noting that the studies EPA used for its proposal do not support lowering the ozone standard. "At the time of the 2008 rulemaking, it was clear that there were many issues with these studies, and those issues remain."

Dr. Robyn Prueitt, who reviewed the studies, agreed. Dr. Prueitt said the human-exposure tests conducted in 2002 and 2006, which formed the basis for the rule-making, were flawed. She also questioned EPA's scientific method. She said EPA ignored studies that tended to disprove an association between ozone and breathing difficulties.

"The key studies cited by EPA...reported small respiratory effects but other studies of similar design...reporting no association between ozone exposure and respiratory effects were not cited as key studies," Prueitt said.

Air quality has improved markedly during the past few decades and is expected to continue to improve. As Ted explained, "EPA's trends data...show that the emissions from six criteria pollutants dropped by 60 percent between 1970 and 2008, while vehicle miles traveled (VMT) went up 163 percent." He added, "Equally important, regulations and standards already in place will assure further progress."

The reduction of sulfur in gasoline, the production of Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) fuel, and the introduction of cleaner vehicles will produce continuing significant air quality improvements.

For more information, read the testimonies of Ted Steichen and Dr. Robyn Prueitt.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jane Van Ryan was formerly senior communications manager and new media advisor at the American Petroleum Institute (API), where she wrote blog posts and produced podcasts and videos. Before coming to API, Jane managed communications for a large science and engineering corporation, and for a top-tier research and engineering university. A few years ago, you might have seen her in your living room when she delivered the news on television. Jane officially retired from API in 2011 and now freelances as an independent communications consultant when not gardening at her farm in Virginia.