Last week the Obama administration unveiled a new environmental regulation designed to decrease ozone emissions, a smog-causing pollutant that is often linked to asthma, respiratory illness, and heart disease.
The regulations proposed by the Obama administration would lower the amount of ozone pollution from 75 parts per billion established in 2008 by the Bush administration to a smaller range of 65 to 70 parts per billion. However, this value is still less strict than some environmental groups were advocating for. In fact, many environmental groups are in favor of stricter guidelines that would lower the threshold down to 60 parts per billion.
According to the EPA, by 2025 this regulation would be responsible for preventing approximately 320,000 to 960,000 asthma attacks in children, and 330,000 to 1 million missed school days. The report also hypothesized that this new regulation could prevent 750 to 4,300 premature deaths by 2025.
Though this new regulation clearly has its benefits, it is not without costs, and unfortunately most of the expenses will be shouldered by the manufacturing industry, as they are the ones being targeted to reduce emissions.
The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) claims that this new regulation “threatens to be the most expensive ever, due to the fact that it comes at the same time dozens of other new EPA regulations are being imposed that collectively place increased costs, burdens and delays on manufacturers, threaten our international competitiveness and make it nearly impossible to grow jobs.”
While it is hard to prove whether it will be the most expensive regulation this early, the EPA does offer some estimates on the cost of this new regulation. By 2025, if the regulation calls for 70 parts per billion, it would cost approximately $3.9 billion for manufacturers. If the regulation calls for 65 parts per billion, it would cost the manufacturing industry approximately $15 billion by 2025.
According to a study done by NERA Economic Consulting commissioned by The National Association of Manufacturers, the figures provided by the EPA are even conservative. The NERA Economic Consulting reported that ozone regulation could cost $270 billion per year and place millions of jobs at risk.
The costs of these regulations would most notably come from power plants and factory owner as a result of rising electricity costs, as well as new equipment required to meet the new standards. Plant and factories would be responsible for the installation of new and expensive technology designed to clean pollutants and reduce emissions from their facilities. States will also need to limit permits for manufacturing and construction operations in an effort to remain compliant with the new ozone regulations.
According to Oklahoma Senator Jim Inofe, the staggering cost of this bill could “lower the nation’s competitiveness and stifle job creation for decades.” Alternatively, William Becker, the executive director of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies, asserts that “ozone is not only killing people, but causing tens of millions of people to get sick every day.”
What do you think?
So the question is, do the benefits of this new ozone regulations outweigh the costs? Is it the responsibility of the manufacturing industry to protect citizens and the environment from potentially toxic byproducts of production? Tell us what you think by leaving your comments below.