The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

The Ozone Pullback

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted September 2, 2011

Good call by the president, halting EPA's proposed tightening of the national ozone standard.

Saddling a limp economy with a new regulation that could kill millions of jobs while adding $1 trillion a year in new compliance costs, didn't make much sense. By some estimates, 85 percent of the country would've been in non-compliance with the stricter standard - one that Howard Feldman, API's director of regulatory and scientific affairs, last month called "incompatible with ... what most Americans do to earn a living."

The administration decided the timing wasn't right. In a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, Cass Sunstein of the White House's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs said it was "problematic" to re-do the ozone rule this year when regular review of the standard is coming up in 2013. That's what we said, here and here.

The key factor, though, had to be the economy and jobs. EPA's out-of-cycle regulatory foray, without mandate or obligation, was contributing to uncertainty in a number of sectors that in turn was working against job creation. Certainly, the axiom "first, do no harm" applies to creating new jobs, and in that EPA's proposal was non-compliant. API President and CEO Jack Gerard:

"The President's decision is good news for the economy and Americans looking for work. EPA's proposal would have prevented the very job creation that President Obama has identified as his top priority. Ozone levels and air quality continue to improve under current regulations, and our industry is committed to making the air we all breathe cleaner while creating new jobs."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.