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EPA Cooks Up a Turkey of an Ozone Rule for Thanksgiving

Eric Bott, 608.258.3400

EPA Cooks Up a Turkey of an Ozone Rule for Thanksgiving 

MADISON – Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC), Wisconsin’s largest business organization, says a new ozone pollution standard proposed by the EPA will significantly drive up energy costs for Wisconsin families, and result in thousands of lost jobs in manufacturing and other sectors of the economy.
“President Obama’s proposal is such a turkey, he had to issue it the day before Thanksgiving in the hopes that nobody would notice,” said Eric Bott, WMC’s Director of Environmental and Energy Policy.  “Under EPA’s proposal, it’s going cost all Wisconsinites more to drive their cars, heat their homes, and keep the lights on.”
EPA’s proposal calls for a reduction in the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone from the current standard of 75 parts per billion (ppb) to between 65 and 70 ppb.  EPA will also be accepting commentary to lower the proposal even further to 60 ppb.
Based on the most recent ozone monitoring data available from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), a standard of 70 ppb would move all Lake Michigan Shoreline counties from Door County to Kenosha County into nonattainment.  A standard set at 65 ppb could push most of South and Southeast Wisconsin into nonattainment.
“EPA’s proposed limits would turn Southeast, Wisconsin into a virtual economic no-go zone for manufacturing,” said Bott.  “Generally speaking, if you want to expand or open a new plant, somebody else is going to have to cut production or shutdown.”
Manufacturers and utilities hoping to locate or expand in Southeast Wisconsin will face Nonattainment New Source Review, meaning they will have to find a source willing to shut down operations or reduce their emissions by a ratio greater than the proposed new source.  In counties determined to be in moderate or severe nonattainment, existing manufacturers and utilities will face costly new compliance mandates, driving up the cost of electricity and making Wisconsin companies less competitive.
“Part of our frustration with EPA’s proposal stems from the fact that it fails to recognize the progress Wisconsin has made reducing ozone pollution along Lake Michigan by 19% over the past decade.  It ignores the fact that much of the remaining issue results from pollution coming from Chicago and Northern Indiana,” said Bott.  “It’s hard to justify socking Wisconsin families and businesses with higher costs and fewer jobs because of pollution from other states.”
The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) recently published an analysis of the economic impacts of a lower standard.  NAM reported that a 60 ppb standard would hit Wisconsin households with a $1,180 drop in annual consumption and cost more than 52,000 lost jobs or job equivalents per year.  A summary of the study’s Wisconsin findings can be accessed here.





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