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September 28, 2015

Final EPA Ozone Rule Coming This Week?

This Thursday, Oct. 1, is the court-mandated deadline for the release of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final ozone regulation. If the EPA does as it is expected and lowers the national ambient air quality standard for ozone from 75 parts per billion (ppb) to between 65 and 70 ppb, the American Petroleum Institute estimates half of all U.S. counties will immediately be in violation of this rule. (Click here to read more from the API on this rule.) 

In its third quarter Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) polled NAM members about the specific challenges presented by the proposed ozone regulation and what nonattainment could mean for them and for the manufacturing industry. Manufacturers said the regulations would:

  • Increase costs for energy, equipment and other input costs. More than 80 percent of respondents to the NAM survey indicated they were concerned the rule would raise energy, equipment and other input costs.
  • Create additional administrative burdens. About two-thirds of respondents were concerned about additional administrative burdens, including lost time and resources spent complying with the regulation.
  • Add new direct compliance costs and restrictions on expansion. More than half (56.2 percent) of manufacturers surveyed said they were concerned about new direct compliance costs while 38.7 percent cited restrictions on expansion and increased delays relating to air permits as core concerns.

The National Association of Manufacturers has also released a television advertisement outlining the rule’s potential impact on the manufacturing sector. (MSCI also encourages its members to read the U.S. Chamber’s Above the Fold analysis of this rule, which has explained how labor unions oppose it and how it would affect steel manufacturers.) 

Meanwhile, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) have released a bipartisan bill that would aid localities that cannot immediately comply with the rule. According to E&E Publishing,  the bill would help local areas that can’t comply “by entering into ‘Early Action Compact Plans’ with EPA.” The agreements would “spell out ‘measurable milestones’ and allow areas to demonstrate that they will achieve the standard no later than 10 years after approval of the plans.” 

Stay tuned to Connecting the Dots for more on this legislation if it advances in the Senate and click here to learn more about MSCI’s efforts with NAM and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to stop this rule.