December 1, 2014

New Ozone Rule Only One Part Of A Larger Agenda That Will Cost U.S. Businesses And Consumers Billions Of Dollars

Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its proposed new air-quality standards for ground-level ozone. According to the National Journal, the draft rule would lower the existing standard for ground-level ozone from 75 parts per billion to between 65 and 70 parts per billion. 

Along with the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and several other trade organizations, MSCI strongly opposes this proposed regulation. That’s because NAM has found the rule would be the costliest ever issued by the federal government, imposing more than $270 billion in new costs on industry and U.S. consumers a year and placing “millions of jobs at risk.” (You can read NAM’s extensive analysis of the proposed ozone rule here and you can also join NAM’s Air Quality Task Force for a briefing on this rule on Wednesday, Dec. 3 at 3 p.m. ET; registration for that event is available here.) 

This rule is addition to other parts of the Obama Administration’s larger climate agenda, which Energy Ventures Analysis (EVA) recently found could eventually raise annual gas and power costs by at least $173 billion. After EVA’s report was released, the Partnership for a Better Energy Future, of which MSCI is a member, released a statement that argued the EVA report “is consistent with what industry has been saying for months — the EPA's regulatory agenda will do significant damage to the American economy.” Interested readers can find out how these regulations could affect prices in their states by visiting EVA’s state-by-state map. (The full EVA report is available here.) 

Also last week: in an important victory for industry representatives and consumers concerned about the costs of these rules, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would review the EPA’s proposed rule governing mercury emissions from power plants. The Wall Street Journal said the Supreme Court’s decision to take this case has “implications for President Barack Obama ’s broader environmental agenda” because the “high court will decide if the EPA should have considered how much the rules would cost utilities, addressing a recurring complaint by companies about government regulations.” The court will likely hear the case in January and issue its decision early next summer.