CRS Welcomes Bennet/Gardner Resistance to EPA Ozone Regulation08/26/2015
Washington D.C., – Today, Karen Kerrigan, President of the Center for Regulatory Solutions (CRS), a project of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council, released the following statement after Colorado Senators Michael Bennet (D) and Cory Gardner (R) announced their concerns and opposition to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposal to tighten the ozone standard:
“I applaud Senator Bennet and Senator Gardner for voicing their concerns and speaking out about the Obama administration’s ozone proposal. Earlier this month, CRS released a report documenting the tremendous economic burden Colorado would face if the administration moves forward with tightening the standard. As Senator Bennet rightly stated, EPA’s proposal ‘isn’t going to work.’
“Senators Bennet and Gardner join a chorus of bipartisan voices in Colorado expressing deep concerns with EPA’s ozone proposal. Colorado has long been a leader in balancing environmental and economic progress. It’s time for Washington to follow Colorado’s lead and not impose federal mandates that punish the state. Hopefully President Obama will once again listen to state and local officials, review how the proposed rule will impact the economy and jobs, and reject EPA’s far-reaching ozone proposal.”
Earlier this month, CRS released a report, “Slamming the Brakes: How Washington’s Ozone Plan Will Hurt the Colorado Economy and Make Traffic Worse,” highlighting the strong and broad-based opposition to overreaching federal policies that ignore the state’s proud history of environmental stewardship. Through interviews, letters to the Obama Administration and other channels, a bipartisan coalition of state lawmakers, local officials and leaders of the business community are sending an unmistakable message to Washington: This ozone plan goes too far.
Senator Bennet and Gardner participated on a panel hosted by the Colorado Oil and Gas Association on August 26. Below is the question posed to Senator Bennet, and his response:
Manu Raju, Politico: Senator Bennet, a big issue here in the room is the ozone standards. Environmental groups, EPA officials are concerned about excessive levels of ozone; that they could lead to premature death and respiratory problems. The business community warns that the standards EPA is proposing would be very bad here in Colorado; it would cost a lot of jobs. The current ground-level ozone standard set in 2008 is 75 parts per billion. EPA’s proposal is lowering it to 65 to 70 parts per billion, and it could go even lower. Question to you: Do you think the EPA proposal is fair? Should they go to 65 parts per billion?
Senator Bennet: I’m deeply concerned about it. I think we should understand how they arrived at that conclusion, because the way some statutes are written, they don’t sometimes have the flexibility we think they should have. And this is the perfect example of applying the law and doing it in a way that doesn’t make sense on the ground. Because of the pollution that’s come in from other Western states, from across the globe, from wildfires in the West, we have significant parts of our state that would be in non-attainment [unintelligible] from the very beginning of the law. That doesn’t make any sense. That’s not going to work. Having said that, we need to care a lot about our kids and the elderly and the quality of the air that they breathe, and we need to care about children in our state that have asthma. So my hope is that we can work together to get to a rational outcome, but I’m not—The one that’s been proposed is not yet there.
State Senator Cheri Jahn (D):
“Coloradans care deeply about the environment. After the great progress we have made on air quality, our state should be praised, not punished. This ozone proposal out of Washington, D.C. scares my constituents, because it could hamstring our regional economy and cost jobs.
We have worked so hard to bring manufacturing jobs to Colorado, and by moving the goal posts on ozone, the EPA is going to chase manufacturing jobs away from our state. This plan could also gum up the approval process for badly needed road and transportation investments, which will make our traffic worse, and make it much harder to attract new industries, grow existing businesses, and strengthen Colorado’s middle class.”
State Senator Ellen Roberts (R):
“If the EPA carries out this ozone plan, Western Colorado will be placed at a terrible economic disadvantage. We have worked hard to responsibly care for our environment even as we grow and diversify our economy.
Tightening the ozone standard any further just does not make sense when the existing standard, which is less than 10 years old, is working. I urge the EPA to reconsider this plan and leave the 2008 standard in place.”
State Senator Mary Hodge (D):
“The EPA may have good intentions, but this ozone proposal goes too far. In Colorado, we have a strong record of growing the economy and cleaning the air using commonsense environmental regulations. Unrealistic mandates from Washington, D.C. will only hurt the Front Range economy and working families.”
State Senator Jerry Sonnenberg (R):
“The EPA’s proposed new standards would drive small family farms such as mine out of business. We have never been able to afford new equipment and if the only way to comply with this new standard is with new equipment, my family would have to leave agriculture. Even if we could meet the standards with expensive upgrades to our machinery, the increased costs to finance those upgrades, as well as the fuel and the fertilizer, takes a marginally profitable farm and turns it into one that can’t make its payments.
Unless you want to see the family farm only as a memory, one must make the EPA understand that their new standards will have a devastating effect on rural America and the agriculture economy.”
Jefferson County Commissioner Don Rosier (R):
“The ozone standards being considered by the EPA simply go too far. The Denver metro area has made great improvements in air quality since the days of the Brown Cloud. And in doing so we have reached a balance that works for our region.
But these proposed limits would put that balance at risk, along with our ability to foster the economic opportunity that our area has become known for.”
Jefferson County Commissioner Libby Szabo (R):
“It’s undeniable that the negative impact of the proposed ozone standard will be felt in people’s day-to-day lives. Coloradans are certain to face longer commutes and even worse traffic as a result of increased red tape from the federal EPA.
These rigid ozone standards could slow down the approval of new road projects, cause long delays on important infrastructure improvements, and in some cases stop projects completely because of onerous emission caps.”
Routt County Commissioners Douglas Monger (D), Cari Hermacinski (R), Timothy Corrigan (D):
“We set and meet high standards because we know it is good for our people and our state. So you might expect us to support the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed standards for ground-level ozone. Those standards, however, are too overbearing and are meeting with a lot of resistance even in places where air quality regulations are welcome…
These standards must not be implemented. If they go forward as proposed, they will do more than put good people out of work and cause hardships for communities that have done so much to protect the land, air and water around them. They will turn away a lot of people who have been receptive to the idea that government can be trusted to do environmental regulation the right way.”