EPA’s Disastrous Ozone Rule Puts 26 National Parks on Non-Compliant List

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Sequoia.National.Park
Sequoia.National.Park, too polluted for the EPA

The pristine forest in Sequoia National Park in Northern California is one of 26 national forests that cannot meet the new EPA ozone requirements of 70 ppb. It was originally going to be set at 60 ppb. If Sequoia can’t meet the requirements, who can?

Unsurprisingly, while The National Park Service blames power plants and not the tourists who bring in $15.7 billion each year, scientists and California officials say power plants are not the problem.

The resolution and the costs for this unfunded mandate will be borne by the states and businesses who had no part in its origination. It’s directly aimed at closing power plants.

“States are responsible for implementing the provisions of the Clean Air Act,” said Jeffrey Olson, chief of education and outreach at the National Park Service. “They will eventually have to put plans in place to show how they can come into compliance with violations of the ozone standard.”

The Ozone pollution standard was lowered to 70 ppb on October 1st and 241 counties nationwide are on the non-compliance list.

The last time the standard changed was 2008, and 227 counties were not meeting the old threshold. The EPA estimates that compliance with the new standard will cost $1.4 billion annually.

Critics say that billions in product losses and compliance costs could make this the costliest regulation in history.

“The costs of compliance with this regulation would largely be borne by manufacturers, and the EPA can only identify a little more than a third of the controls we would need to install to comply. It calls the rest ‘unknown controls,’ because it simply cannot tell us what we will have to do,” said Jay Timmons, president of the National Association of Manufacturers. “This regulation’s strict mandates will force manufacturers to shut down, scrap or modify existing facilities. This means higher costs for consumers and lost jobs.”

EPA Chief Gina McCarthy says it’s about health and she has the studies she manufactured to prove it.

Dave Clegern spokesperson for the California Air Resources Board disagrees.

“Much of the pollution is from vehicles, but it also depends on the location of the park,” said Clegern. “Some of the recent pollution has been from wildfires, some drifts in from out of state.”

“Usually ozone pollution is caused by traffic rather than power plants,” said Saewung Kim, an assistant professor of atmospheric chemistry at the University of California, Irvine. “Power plants have done a great job cleaning up their emissions and ozone-causing pollutants.”

California’s governor and legislators have spent years enacting measures aimed at forcing residents to curtail driving, which is blamed for most of its smog. The state has only four coal-burning plants!

Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa said, “The biggest offender is Mother Nature, with volatile organic compounds,” he said. “It will get to the point where almost anything you do will have an effect on pollution.”

Pennsylvania has 74 power plants fueled by either coal or petroleum and has spent decades struggling to comply with EPA measures. Approximately 40 percent of its manufacturing jobs have been lost since 1990, according to the Center for Regulatory Solutions.

“If your county or region is not meeting the standard, you are in non-attainment,” said Kevin Sunday, government affairs director of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce. “You have to spend whatever it takes or go buy emission credits.”

A Pennsylvania study looking at the 65 ppb level found a $98 billion state product loss from 2017 to 2040; $109 billion in compliance costs; and 101,182 lost jobs.

The National Park Service doesn’t even know what its role is yet. They’re waiting for guidance. The EPA passes these laws as rules without having a clue as to how to make it work.

Barack Obama’s new ozone rules will kill manufacturing jobs and will be economically crippling according to David Johnson, CEO of Summitville Tiles, Inc, of Inside Sources.

Johnson estimates it will cost the nation 1.4 million jobs and $1.7 trillion in lost productivity by 2040. The EPA will slap existing manufacturers with new “maintenance costs” that could jeopardize the very viability of an enterprise. Plants located in what the EPA calls “non-attainment” zones will not be able to expand without: A) a reduction in emissions; or B) the shutdown of operations from other plants in a given area. Plans for new plants and/or the expansion of existing plants will just be shelved.

The National Association of Manufacturers has called the proposal “the most expensive regulation ever.” They have issued a report that asserts the rules would be the most costly federal regulation ever issued. Its costs would be in excess of $140 billion per year, as manufacturing, construction and farm work is curtailed. Businesses and local governments will have to comply with hard-to-measure and even harder-to-attain standards or risk losing federal highway money.

In Ohio, this new ozone standard would unilaterally and immediately place every single county in the state in a “non-attainment” zone. By lowering the permissible ozone particulate from 75 to 65 parts per billion (ppb), the state’s entire manufacturing base will be subject to massive re-regulation, stifling new regulatory rules, and staggering new costs of compliance, he wrote.

The EPA’s proposed standard is so restrictive that 22 of New Mexico’s 33 counties would violate the lower end of the EPA’s ozone range, the New Mexico Association of Commerce and Industry (NMACI) warned. They’d suddenly be in violation of federal law.

A total of 558 counties will be out of attainment with a standard of 65-70 ppb, including much of the rural West.

This nonsensical outcome is possible because the proposed standard approaches background levels of ozone, which come from natural sources, wildfires, industrial activity in other states and – in a disturbing trend – from outside the country.

The New Mexico Environment Department warns that Western states are getting hit with “transported ozone pollution from Asia … and that impact is increasing.” Researchers affiliated with NASA also report that China’s pollution is adding to our background levels.

The new standards will have an especially large impact on metropolitan areas that already have the most difficulty meeting the current standard. Political and governmental leaders in these areas are disproportionately Democrats and their communities would be most likely hurt by curtailed economic activity that is likely to result from the new standards.

Another irony is the EPA is attempting to reduce ground- level ozone by regulation while it is promoting use of ethanol that may increase ozone through ESIA mandates.

As an example of the effects of this new rule, based on questionable health studies, 80% of wood stoves will be banned. Fireplaces will soon be included. The 2015 rule regulates: Adjustable stoves, Single burn-rate stoves, Pellet stoves, Fireplace inserts (wood stoves that fit into a fireplace), Hydronic heater, Forced air furnaces.

The EPA and the environmental lobby make health claims based on pollution levels from a bygone era. They argue a tighter ozone standard will reduce asthma, but recent history shows no such connection.

For over a decade, asthma cases have increased by millions while ozone concentrations have declined. Meanwhile, the EPA and its political allies gloss over asthma causes such as allergies, indoor air pollution, and conditions associated with poverty.

Gov. Susana Martinez, a Republican, calls the proposed ozone standard “too extreme” because “even some of our most pristine areas, such as our national parks, will not be able to satisfy it.” Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, has expressed similar concerns. High-elevation states are disadvantaged, Hickenlooper said, and the standard is being set “where you know you’re not going to be able to achieve it.”

Texans say it will destroy their booming economy.

Ozone levels have been dropping dramatically but that’s not good enough for the EPA. Nationally, ozone levels have fallen 33 percent since 1980 and the EPA admits they will continue to fall.

The government plans to regulate absolutely everything. The US Appeals Courts says they are in compliance with the Constitution. The latitude the EPA has is extraordinary.

Read more at Watchdog dot org.

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