EPA’s New Ozone Rulemakings: More Harmful than Helpful?

Praised by environmentalists and panned by business groups, EPA’s recent rulemakings for ground-level ozone is causing quite the stir.  The rule proposes to cut the national ambient air-quality standard to between 60 and 70 parts per billion (ppb) of allowable ozone.  The current level is 75 ppb.

The Washington Times cited the possible damaging effects of this rule on American’s economic engine, noting that as many as 7.3 million jobs could be lost by 2020 because 85 percent of counties are currently out of compliance with this rule.

U.S. News and World Report’s article also quantifies the costs to the nation: an estimated $1 trillion dollar price tag.  The article also notes that the EPA’s plan to go “far beyond former President Bush’s effort to tighten ozone standards way in advance of the planned review in 2013” is an issue.

Which can wait: the EPA’s rulemakings or the economic health of the nation?  Proponents of the rule argue the health benefits are reason enough to move forward, as smog harms the respiratory system and can cause premature death.  The health of the American people is important, but understanding the position of the economic health of this nation equally important.

With an unemployment rate of 9.2%, the debt-ceiling debate in full swing, and 7.3 million jobs in the hands of the EPA’s rulemakings, it’s quite obvious which can wait, at least for the meantime.

Can the EPA rulemaking wait until the planned review in 2013?  The economy may be in a more stable state and the effects of such rules would be less detrimental to job growth.  What do you think?  Are the EPA’s ozone rulemakings more harmful or helpful to the U.S. economy today?

Kara Behrens

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