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U.S. Rep. Latta on EPA’s Proposed Ozone Rule and Impacts on Manufacturing

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Robert E. Latta joined colleagues on the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power at a hearing on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new proposal for National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ozone Rule. Testimony was heard from seven witnesses discussing the potential impacts of the rule’s implementation on the manufacturing sector.

“Today, we heard from several witnesses who have expressed grave concerns for their industry and the negative impacts this proposal would bring. I have particular apprehension for how the rule would adversely effect the constituents in my district, and across the state of Ohio, which has historically been a manufacturing state,” said Rep. Latta.  “Since the proposal was first introduced, I have neither seen nor heard anything that would alleviate the concern that this is unnecessary regulation that would pose a heavy burden on American industry.”

The U.S. EPA initially established an ozone standard in 1971, and subsequently revised the standard in 1979, 1997, and 2008. Under the Clean Air Act, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for criteria pollutants, including ground-level ozone. The current standard, set in 2008, established an 8-hour standard of 75 parts per billion (ppb), replacing a 1997 standard equivalent to 84 ppb.

EPA has proposed to lower that standard to a range within 65 ppb to 70 ppb.

Ross E. Eisenberg, Vice President of Energy and Resources Policy for the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), was among witnesses offering testimony at the hearing.  Mr. Eisenberg, referring to the data determined by a previously released study, identified the proposal as “likely to be the most expensive regulation ever”.

The study estimated the proposal will cost as much as $140 billion per year, placing the equivalent of 1.4 million jobs in jeopardy annually. The study also estimates Ohio would experience a $22 Billion Gross State Product loss from 2017 to 2040, spend $840 Million in Total Compliance Costs and lose 22,914 jobs or job equivalents annually.

“It very much appears the administration is using the Clean Air Act to target specific industries, and certainly, if this rule is implemented, manufacturing is going to be one of those most negatively impacted. This is an industry that employs, directly or indirectly, millions of Americans who stand to face unnecessary adversity and declining opportunity as a result of regulatory overreach,” stated Latta.

Testimony was heard from Erin Monroe Wesley, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Baton Rouge Area Chamber. Ms. Wesley identified four businesses who were preparing to make significant ventures estimated to bring more than $7 billion in capital investments to the region. These companies, upon the release of the EPA proposal, either put the projects on hold or invested elsewhere, citing the proposal and lack of emission reduction credits as the basis for their decision.

“The previous revisions to the NAAQS standards are currently being implemented in counties across the country, and by the EPA’s own data, this has allowed ozone levels to decline over 30% by 1980.  These newly proposed standards are overly burdensome and deficiently demonstrative of providing any environmental benefit,” said Latta.  “We have already heard testimony demonstrating the simple possibility of these rules being implemented proving detrimental to a region’s workforce, and workforce growth. This will not be isolated to one area. If the EPA were to go forward with the rules under the current proposal, negative consequences would be felt by American workers across the board, and effectively stifle any opportunity for future economic growth.”

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