The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Stricter Ozone Rule = Nonattainment for Kentucky

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted August 19, 2014

We’ve posted recently on potential roadblocks to the progress America’s energy revolution is providing – posed by administration policies and new regulatory proposals (infographic). Among them are proposed stricter standards for ground-level ozone that could put 94 percent of the country out of compliance, potentially impacting the broader economy and individual households.

Looking at the possible state-level effects of a more stringent ozone proposal in North Carolina, Ohio and Louisiana reveals a clearer picture of potential impacts on Americans’ lives. Kentucky, already at the forefront of a coal-related regulatory push, could see significant economic harm from a new ozone standard, according to a National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) report:


Jurisdictions in red have ozone monitors located in them; those in orange are unmonitored areas that could be expected to violate a 60 parts per billion standard (based on spatial interpolation), which EPA is considering to as a replacement for the current 75 ppb standard. In short, every Kentucky county would be in nonattainment.

The potential effects include $31.8 billion in gross state product loss from 2017 to 2040 and 29,166 lost jobs or job equivalents per year. Manufacturers might be unable to expand to counties in red or orange unless other businesses shut down, and federal highway funds could be frozen.

Kentucky would be part of the national story resulting from a stricter ozone standard – a possible $270 billion per year reduction in U.S. GDP and 2.9 million fewer job equivalents per year on average through 2040, according to the NAM report. As Howard Feldman, API’s director of scientific and regulatory affairs, recently said, a stricter standard isn’t justified from a health perspective and isn’t needed to continue air quality progress that’s being made under the existing standard:

“Our fuels are much cleaner today and so are our facilities. Indeed, that’s a primary reason why so much national progress has been made over the decades improving air quality. EPA emissions data confirm this. We can build on this progress without going to a stricter and potentially very damaging standard …”


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.