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Stricter Ozone Rule = Nonattainment for Arkansas

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted August 22, 2014

The national standard for ground-level ozone hardly needs tinkering. As noted  earlier this year by Howard Feldman, API’s director of scientific and regulatory affairs, air quality in the U.S. has been steadily improving in recent years, and the health case for a more stringent ozone standard, which EPA may propose, hasn’t been made:

“We recognize that EPA has a statutory duty to periodically review the standards. However, the current review of health studies has not identified compelling evidence for more stringent standards. Tightened standards could impose unachievable emission reduction requirements on virtually every part of the nation, including rural and undeveloped areas. These could be the costliest EPA regulations ever.”

Costly nationally and to the states individually. A report for the National Association of Manufacturers says the U.S. could see a $270 billion per year reduction in GDP and 2.9 million fewer job equivalents per year on average through 2040. We’ve looked at potential state impacts in North Carolina, Ohio, Louisiana, Kentucky and Michigan. Today, Arkansas:

arkansas

As the infographic shows, Arkansas could see 10,489 lost jobs or job equivalents per year, according to the NAM report.

Every county in the state would be in nonattainment or non-compliance with an ozone standard set at 60 parts per billion (ppb), which EPA is considering as a tightening of the current 75 ppb standard. Counties 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 (ppb) standard (based on spatial interpolation). Potentially, manufacturers would be kept from expanding unless other businesses shut down, federal highway funds could be frozen and economic growth halted.

Arkansas would join virtually all of the rest of the country in being out of compliance, potentially bringing on the economic impacts detailed in the NAM report:

national_ozone

A stricter ozone standard is a fix to a rule that’s not broken. It’s the wrong policy choice for Arkansas and the United States.

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.