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CRS Welcomes President Obama’s Ozone Comments

09/18/2015

“This Can Create A Really Complicated Situation … Those Are Legitimate Economic Issues That Have To Be Considered,” Obama Says

 

Washington, D.C. – Today Karen Kerrigan, President of the Center for Regulatory Solutions (CRS), a project of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council, welcomed President Obama’s remarks on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its ozone proposal during a quarterly meeting of the Business Roundtable.

“I am pleased to hear that President Obama is acknowledging the serious concerns of state and local leaders,” Kerrigan stated. “They fear the EPA will ratchet the federal ozone standard down to background levels – which come from natural sources, wildfires and cross-border air pollution – and then punish communities for emissions they did not create. The pollution being generated by California wildfires, which is affecting neighboring states, is a perfect example.  This issue has been raised by U.S. Senator Michael Bennet (D), Gov. John Hickenlooper (D), the bipartisan Western Governors Association and state-level environmental regulators from across the country, among others.”

“President Obama’s remarks on the costs of the proposal are also welcome. For months, activists supporting tighter standards have argued that costs are an irrelevant – even illegal – consideration for the president’s advisers. So we certainly appreciate President Obama’s apparent rejection of these talking points from pressure groups. Given all of the cost and implementation concerns raised by state and local leaders, labor groups, business representatives and others, we are hopeful that sanity will prevail just as it did four years ago, when President Obama put aside an almost identical ozone plan.

“Of course, actions matter. We certainly appreciate President Obama’s comments, but actions speak louder than words. If his advisers are really listening to the communities with the most at stake, he will once again disallow tightening the standard and instead enforce and implement the current standard that continues to deliver real clean-air results. Doing so is vital to safeguard the nation’s economic and environmental progress.”

 

According the transcript and video, President Obama raised the concerns of state officials about background ozone and cost of the regulations.

President Obama on background ozone:

“We are mindful that in some cases, because of the nature of where pollutants are generated, where they blow, that this can create a really complicated situation for certain local jurisdictions and local communities, and some states and counties end up being hit worse than others.  And we’re trying to work with those states and those communities as best we can taking in their concerns into account … And on ozone, this is an existing statute and an existing mechanism, and we are charged with implementing it based on the science that’s presented to us.  And that’s what we’re trying to do, but we’re taking this input into account.  I recognize some of the concerns. “

President Obama on economic impacts:

“I will say this — last point I’ll make on this.  Even with the costs associated with implementing the ozone rule, when you do a cost-benefit, the amount of lives saved, asthma averted and so forth is still substantially higher than the costs.  Now, that doesn’t necessarily resolve all the concerns that people may have about local costs being borne, whereas the savings are spread out more broadly.  And those are legitimate economic issues that have to be considered.  And the EPA has been listening to I think every stakeholder there.”