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Experts Agree

New Ozone Regulations Are Not in the Nation’s Best Interest

In November 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed new regulations to tighten the standards for Ozone by at least 20 percent by October 1, 2015. The expected cost to American businesses and our economy is projected to be more than $140 billion. That’s why it’s critically important that any revisions be grounded in common sense and hard science with zero guesswork. Unfortunately, the new regulations meet none of these standards – while simultaneously placing a crippling financial burden on the American economy.

Here’s what the experts have to say in the areas of:

Health Science
Technology Economy
Background Ozone


“In fact, I fear that there may be an unintended consequence in that as company compliance spending increases there will be less spending on employment. As you are no doubt aware economic opportunity and economic status often has a direct correlation with public health. I fear the unintended consequence of improve[d] air quality at the expense of [increased] health burden caused by the lack of economic opportunity for the residents of my district.”
Eldon Heaston, Executive Director/Air Pollution Control Officer, Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District

“There are so many things we have done as a state and as a country when it comes to improving air quality since the 1970s. For example, here in Colorado the oil and gas industry has enjoyed tremendous growth in recent years, and we think our efforts at CDPHE have kept pace with that. We have passed half a dozen significant rulemakings that directly address emissions from the oil and gas industry and limit the emissions from that industry. Those regulations have served as a precedent and a model for other states.”
Will Allison, Director, CDPHE Air Pollution Division, Government agency

“Given the uncertainty with the health studies cited in the proposal, and the lack of new research indicating adverse health impacts below 75 ppb, EPA should retain the current ozone standard and allow time for the control measures listed in the Georgia Rules for Air Quality Control and our SIP to be fully implemented.”
Keith Bentley, Air Protection Branch Chief, Georgia Environmental Protection Division-Department of Natural Resources

“The significant improvement in measured ozone air quality over the past 40 years should have drastically reduced both the number and severity of asthma attacks. … But we can find no evidence that such a reduction has occurred.”
Tom Easterly, Commissioner, Indiana Department of Environmental Management

“[T]he risk of death was 63% higher among those who experienced unemployment than among those who did not, after adjustment for age and other covariates.”
David J. Roelfs, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Louisville

“The proposed change fails to acknowledge the gains in human health and air quality from regulatory actions already in play and does not take into account that imposing more stringent standards could slow reductions in ozone and thwart growth in business investment.”
Rick Snyder, Governor, Michigan

“Our study results clearly indicate that unemployment is not just bad for your pocketbook; it’s also bad for your health. … The results suggest a causal relationship between unemployment and higher risk of death.”
Dr. Joseph Schwartz, Professor of Psychiatry and Sociology, Stony Brook University School of Medicine

“There are much bigger factors than ozone, so if you don’t control for those factors, then you can’t make the claim that ozone is causing increased asthma attacks. For example, the condition inside someone’s house is a big factor. If there are pets inside, or cockroaches, those are very potent inducers of asthma attacks. Smoking is another example. Second-hand smoke is a big factor when it comes to asthma.”
Dr. Michael Honeycutt, Toxicology Division Director, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

“Most studies examining connections between ozone and health effects do not adequately account for smoking or other factors such as diet and exercise that could contribute to diseases attributed to ozone. By not fully considering these other factors, the EPA assumes that ozone causes more health effects than what the science supports.”
Dr. Julie Goodman, Principal; Dr. Sonja Sax, Senior Environmental Scientist, Gradient Corp.

“[N]ew health effects evidence cited in the Proposed Rule is no stronger than evidence cited in previous reviews, and does not support lowering the primary NAAQS below 0.075 ppm. This is true for all realms of evidence, including that from controlled exposure, epidemiology, and mode-of-action studies…”
Dr. Julie Goodman, Principal, Gradient Corp.

“I am not aware that CASAC [EPA’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee] has ever advised EPA to take account of the role of socioeconomic factors, unemployment or other risk factors influencing the health endpoints under consideration.”
Dr. Roger McClellan, Former Chairman, CASAC

“In contrast to the expert opinions relied on by EPA in proposing that a further reduction in ozone would be protective of public health, applying more objective and reliable statistical methods reveal no causal relation between past ozone reductions and past improvements in public health. The absence of any apparent causal impact of past ozone reductions on public health is nether mentioned nor explained in EPA’s health effects risk assessment (HERA) documents, which focuses instead on predicting substantial future human health benefits from future reductions in ozone.”
Dr. Tony Cox, Editor-in-chief of the international journal Risk Analysis and member of the National Academy of Engineering

“The EPA’s proposed lower ozone standard derives much of its claimed benefits from associating ozone with worsening asthma. The problem with this association is that asthma diagnoses are increasing in the U.S., yet nationwide, air quality is improving. If asthma were actually tied to ozone, you would expect to see the instances of asthma decreasing, not increasing. In fact, data from Texas hospitals show that asthma admissions are actually highest in the winter, when ozone levels are the lowest.”
Dr. Brian Shaw, Commissioner, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality


“Ozone levels have already fallen in recent decades by far more than the proposed amounts in many locations in the United States. Yet analysis of public health records shows that these large reductions in ozone levels have caused no detectable public health benefits. Thus, EPA’s assumption that smaller future reductions in ozone will do so is unwarranted.”
Dr. Tony Cox, Editor-in-chief of the international journal Risk Analysis and member of the National Academy of Engineering

“These areas of uncertainty, like the exposure-response function, are critical elements necessary to establish a scientifically defensible standard. There is greater confidence and less uncertainty in the upper end of the ranges that were relied upon in your proposed rule. In fact, there is a lack of statistically significant data for establishing a NAAQS at concentrations less than 72 parts per billion.”
Donald R. van der Vaart, Secretary, North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources

“[I]n Ohio we demand that our agencies justify their regulatory actions with science, and we do understand that the EPA’s interpretation of the Clean Air Act is that decisions are to be based on health considerations only. Even under this standard, we believe the proposal fails to meet your criteria.”
Mary Taylor, Lt. Governor, Ohio

“The EPA states the proposal is based on protecting human health, but health benefits from a lower ozone standard are inconclusive. Nor has EPA taken into account the gains in human health and air quality experienced from regulations already in place. Lowering the standard now will only create regulatory uncertainty and hardship with questionable corresponding benefits to public health.”
Dennis Daugaard, Governor, South Dakota

“[T]here is now broad scientific consensus outside the EPA-funded air pollution health effects community that associational data – that is, data of the type relied on throughout EPA’s health effects risk assessment for ozone – do not in general provide reliable information about causation.”
Tony Cox, Editor-in-chief of the international journal Risk Analysis and member of the National Academy of Engineering

“We recently submitted some work for publication that shows the actual doses of ozone your body gets from those three concentrations – 75, 70 and 65 parts per billion – aren’t different from each other. So your body can’t tell the difference between 75, 70 or 65 parts per billion.”
Dr. Michael Honeycutt, Toxicology Division Director, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

“As a physician, the health of all of our citizens is of the utmost importance to me, and as we know from all of the other conversations occurring throughout this Committee, the cost of health care is a real concern for Americans. However, I have serious reservations about the science and analysis utilized by the EPA to support this proposed rule and whether it would be effective.”
Congressman Michael Burgess (R-TX)

“First, by EPA’s own account, they have not quantified their very large uncertainty about the public health benefits that their models project. This is unacceptable in a risk assessment prepared to inform public policy decision-making. The public health benefits that EPA predicts from lowering ozone levels are purely hypothetical results of models that EPA itself recognizes are inaccurate. A proper quantitative uncertainty analysis might conclude that, with something like 95% confidence, these heath [sic] benefits either do not exist or are so much smaller than EPA has estimated that they cannot be found in massive amounts of past data.”
Dr. Tony Cox, Editor-in-chief of the international journal Risk Analysis and member of the National Academy of Engineering

“It is indisputably important to set the ozone NAAQS at a level adequate to protect human health and welfare, based on the best available scientific information. However, it is important to consider the uncertainties inherent and acknowledged in even the most credible scientific studies. During the 2010 and 2011 reconsideration process, several state environmental agencies and other experts expressed concerns regarding EPA’s interpretations of the scientific materials in proposing to tighten the ozone NAAQS. Many of these concerns persist today.”
Ann Flandermeyer Kirwin, Board Member, Virginia Air Pollution Control Board

“Given the acknowledged uncertainty in the scientific data in the proposal, it is the specific recommendation of the Commonwealth that if the standard must be revised at this time, the primary ozone standard should be set no lower than 0.070 parts per million.”
David K. Paylor, Director, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality

“EPA’s justification for its NAAQS standards appears to fit the pattern of what has been called a ‘scientific charade,’ in which an agency attempts to use science to justify its standards, even though the level and form of the standards is not something that science alone can determine.”
Dr. Roger McClellan, Former Chairman, CASAC

“The EPA considers worst-case scenarios arguably to protect the most sensitive people in a population. However, in its ozone health-risk and exposure assessment, the EPA makes many ‘worst-case’ assumptions that could not all occur at one time, leading to an unrealistic scenario that overestimates risks.”
Dr. Julie Goodman, Principal; Dr. Sonja Sax, Senior Environmental Scientist, Gradient Corp.

“However, EPA’s own health effects risk assessment report for ozone admits that their estimation of health impacts uses inaccurate models for which they have been unable to quantify uncertainties in predictions and conclusions. This leaves policy makers and the public uninformed about an issue crucial for sound policy-making: How likely is it that the Rule will cause the public health benefits that EPA estimates, or that it will instead produce other outcomes, such as zero health benefits?”
Dr. Tony Cox, Editor-in-chief of the international journal Risk Analysis and member of the National Academy of Engineering

“In short, EPA uses a model that is known to be inaccurate to predict benefits from reducing ozone. EPA’s ozone health risk assessment provides no quantitative assessment of uncertainty about whether or to what extent the projected human health benefits would actually occur if the proposed rule were implemented, thus depriving policy makers of the opportunity to see just how hypothetical and unlikely the projected health benefits really are.”
Dr. Tony Cox, Editor-in-chief of the international journal Risk Analysis and member of the National Academy of Engineering


“Technology does not exist to get all the emission reductions needed.”
Seyed Sadredin, Executive Director, San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District

“As much as 60 percent of the technologies needed to comply with a new standard are unknown even to the EPA.”
Sam Brownback, Governor, Kansas

“States cannot meet EPA’s proposal with available technologies.”
Matthew Mead, Governor, Wyoming


“If the entire 20 thousand plus square miles of the Mojave District becomes nonattainment, as I suspect it will be, the cost of compliance for industrial sources in those outlying areas will increase substantially without a corresponding benefit to public health.”
Eldon Heaston, Executive Director/Air Pollution Control Officer, Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District

“It is also clear that it will be extremely difficult if not impossible to meet current federal ozone standards – let alone more stringent proposed standards – without major advances in technology that are not currently available, and without shutting down major industries.”
Kevin Abernathy, Director of Regulatory Affairs, Milk Producers Council

“If finalized, EPA’s proposed stringent ozone standards could limit business expansion in nearly every populated region of the U.S. and impairs the ability of U.S. companies to create new jobs and agriculture to remain competitive. Local communities will face burdens to commercial, industrial and agricultural activity not only vital to creating jobs, but also to providing tax revenue that support local services like public safety and education.”
Dale Moore, Executive Director, Public Policy, American Farm Bureau Federation

“[T]he stringent new ozone standards have the potential for damaging economic consequences across the entire economy and would place serious restrictions on farmers, increasing input costs for things like electricity, fuel, fertilizer and equipment. Further, as ozone standards are ratcheted down closer to levels that exist naturally, more farmers will be forced to abide by restrictions on equipment use and land management, making it harder to stay in business.”
Dale Moore, Executive Director, Public Policy, American Farm Bureau Federation

“Our country’s farmers cannot afford a stricter ozone standard.”
Dale Moore, Executive Director, Public Policy, American Farm Bureau Federation

“For factories and power plants, a lower ozone standard means new facilities, expansions, and restarts could be delayed or scrapped. Facilities that do expand will have to pay millions for offsets even though their new production is cleaner and state of the art.”
American Chemistry Council

“Lowering the 8-hour standard by 5 to 10 ppb will result in widespread adverse economic impacts on much of the United States.”
Tom Easterly, Commissioner, Indiana Department of Environmental Management

“[A] primary standard below 70 ppb could negatively impact future economic growth in important industry sectors by creating additional nonattainment areas within the State of Iowa —such a scenario would limit opportunities for future family income growth and to nurture the overall health of the Iowa, regional, and national economy.”
Debi Durham, Director, Iowa Economic Development Authority

“The end result is an economy where consumers will have less to spend on food, clothing and other basic needs because they will be spending this money instead on the new costs that have been passed through to them from ozone regulations.”
Sam Brownback, Governor, Kansas

“[A] more stringent ozone standard would stifle local governments’ ability to increase economic development within their regions. … Under a 65 parts per billion standard, all but two of the nation’s top twenty metropolitan economies would be in areas designated as in nonattainment. These metro areas are essential for the economic strength of their regions, and contribute to the overall strength of the nation’s economy.”
Gary Moore, Judge/Executive of Boone County, Kentucky; President, National Association of Regional Councils, Boone County, Kentucky; National Association of Regional Councils

“Since the EPA first proposed lowering the ozone standard in December, the Baton Rouge Area has seen four major industrial projects totaling 2,000 direct and indirect jobs, and more than $7 billion in capital investment, either put on hold or redirected elsewhere. These losses are in direct correlation with the uncertainty created by the newly proposed ozone standards rule. The direct impact on the Baton Rouge Area, in terms of new payroll created from the projects themselves, would have been over $86 million annually in wages for the local economy.”
Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC)

“Lowering the ozone standard, particularly to the levels suggested by EPA, will almost certainly cause economic harm to the National Black Chamber of Commerce members and will shut off huge parts of the country from economic development and job growth.”
Harry C. Alford, President/CEO, National Black Chamber of Commerce

“In 2014, the Baton Rouge Area Chamber of Commerce worked with four chemical manufacturers, who were investigating significant investments in the area. Two of the companies executed purchase agreements on sizeable industrial locations with the intent to develop them. Unfortunately, all four companies later decided to search elsewhere for their investments. The companies all indicated that EPA’s ozone proposal with the threat of the ozone standard being lowered and the area falling back into nonattainment influenced their decisions to pull the plug on the projects in the Baton Rouge area.”
Harry C. Alford, President/CEO, National Black Chamber of Commerce

“The potential costs we estimated for a 65 ppb ozone standard are projected to have substantial impacts on the U.S. economy and U.S. households.”
Dr. David Harrison, Jr. and Dr. Anne E. Smith, et al. , Senior Vice Presidents and Co-Chairs of the Environment Practice, NERA Economic Consulting

“[T]he proposed ozone rule not only has the potential to be the “most expensive regulation” ever enacted by the federal government in U.S. history, it will be one that severely impinges on entrepreneurship and economic freedom.”
Raymond J. Keating, Chief Economist, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, Center for Regulatory Solutions

“All sectors of the economy would be affected by a 65 ppb ozone standard, both directly through increased emissions control costs and indirectly through impacts on affected entities’ customers and/or suppliers.”
Dr. David Harrison, Jr. and Dr. Anne E. Smith, et al. , Senior Vice President, Co-Chairs of the Environment Practice, NERA Economic Consulting

“This Proposed Rule touches every facet of our economy, regulated and unregulated by the Commission. The cost, expense and burden the economy and, ultimately, the American citizens must endure to obtain a result that could have little to no impact on ozone levels cannot be taken lightly.”
Todd Hiett, Commissioner, Oklahoma Corporation

“In the end, all sectors of the economy would be negatively affected by the EPA’s new, stringent NAAQS ozone regulations. That means, of course, that small businesses will be hit hardest, as is the case with nearly all regulations and given that small businesses account for the overwhelmingly majority of firms across nearly all sectors of our economy.”
Raymond J. Keating, Chief Economist, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, Center for Regulatory Solutions

“More stringent ozone standards will additionally place undue burdens on farmers. Every aspect of productivity will see an increase in costs: fuel, fertilizer, utilities and equipment. In turn, agricultural support and processing industries will be subjected to these impacts.”
Todd Hiett, Commissioner, Oklahoma Corporation

“This proposed standard means greater costs to our producers and for smaller operators who operate on a very thin margin that is already impacted by unpredictable forces such as Mother Nature; those increased costs can result in the decision to quit farming.”
Jim Reese, Secretary and Commissioner of Agriculture, Oklahoma State Board of Agriculture

“With these goals in mind, we are concerned with the lower ranges being considered for the new ozone standard and the impacts they may have to expanding existing industry and attracting new industries to a number of our counties. … To avoid unnecessary additional costs associated with a designation process completed too early, EPA could also consider leaving the standard at its current [level of 75 parts per billion] until states have fully implemented existing national and local measures designed to lower ozone levels.”
Bill Haslam, Governor, Tennessee

“Economic opportunity in this part of Utah, including portions of the Navajo Nation, could be stifled because there would be no possibility to construct a new major source even though ozone levels at Canyonlands are not caused by local emissions.”
Amanda Smith, Executive Director, Utah Department of Environmental Quality

“The costs of the proposed EPA ozone regulations promise to be enormous for small businesses, and for the overall economy.”
Raymond J. Keating, Chief Economist, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, Center for Regulatory Solutions

“Small businesses in non-attainment areas will have a difficult time starting up, expanding and competing for ‘offsets,’ as those offsets will be expensive, or perhaps not exist when needed. Compliance will be complex and costly. Economic opportunity and job creation will suffer. The expense and red tape will be a barrier to new startups and business formation. These regulations would hamper local efforts to spur new business creation, and could, in effect, serve as a cap on entrepreneurship and small business growth.”
Raymond J. Keating, Chief Economist, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, Center for Regulatory Solutions

“The proposed changes to the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone will be detrimental to the economic growth that we are seeing across the nation.”
Scott Walker, Governor, Wisconsin

“A recent study showed that moving from a 75 parts per billion (ppb) standard to 65 ppb could cost my state almost 25,000 jobs per year and $30 billion in gross state product from 2017-2040. In addition, the cost to comply with this new regulation would be $10 billion due to additional controls being placed on industry and requiring them to find offset emissions. Energy prices would increase and families would see their budgets squeezed further by yet another government regulation.”
Scott Walker, Governor, Wisconsin

“There is simply no good reason to risk the economic harm your proposal could inflict at this time of dramatically improved air quality.”
Scott Walker, Governor, Wisconsin

“The new proposed standard for ground-level ozone, however, is extremely concerning. With work still being done to implement the 2008 standard, this new standard is impractical and unattainable. For-five percent of the necessary controls to achieve this standard are classified in the proposed rule as “unknown.” With this in mind, the introduction of a new ozone standard has the potential to cause a tremendous negative impact on our state’s economy and would make the economic prospects for working families even more challenging.”
Earl Ray Tomblin, Governor, West Virginia

“This rule will undermine energy reliability, stall manufacturing investment, and smother economic opportunity for middle class Americans.”
John Barrasso, Senator, Wyoming

“The effects of EPA’s lower ozone standard could be coming to a community near you. At 65 ppb, which is at the lower end of the range EPA proposed, 2000 counties in 45 states covering a population of 255 million would be in nonattainment, based on EPA’s most recent complete air quality data. At 70 ppb, 1300 counties in 40 states covering a population of 210 million would be in nonattainment.”
American Chemistry Council

“By significantly lowering the ozone standard, EPA will require many local communities to achieve the unachievable at any and all cost and using nonexistent technology.”
Business Roundtable

“If the ozone standard is lowered to 65 ppb, in addition to Atlanta, it is likely that Macon, Chattanooga, and Dalton would be designated as nonattainment areas. Augusta, Athens, Rome (Summerville), Columbus, and Americus (Leslie) might also be added to the list of nonattainment areas at 65 ppb, depending on meteorological conditions during future ozone seasons.”
Keith Bentley, Air Protection Branch Chief, Georgia Environmental Protection Division-Department of Natural Resources

“[N]one of the alternative ozone standards, including the current one of 0.075 ppm, can be justified on the basis of net ozone-related benefits being positive. If based on ozone benefits alone, not one of the EPA’s estimates of the benefits of reducing ozone to a tighter alternative ozone standard is as large as the costs of attaining that respective ozone standard — all cost more than the ozone benefits they might provide.”
Dr. Anne E. Smith, Senior Vice President, Co-Chair of the Environment Practice, NERA Economic Consulting

Background Ozone

“I am also concerned that some of the lower standard proposals, namely the .060 to .065 ppm ranges are getting seriously close to the ambient background levels of Ozone. The closer to standard gets to background levels the greater the impact will be of long range transported pollution from other countries and ships at sea. These are sources over which local air districts have no control.”
Eldon Heaston, Executive Director/Air Pollution Control Officer, Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District

“Background ozone contributes on average about 40 ppb to measured ozone in the Mountain West during the spring and early summer when measured levels exceed about 60 ppb. … With these relatively high contributions from background ozone, an ozone standard needs to be set at a level that allows regulatory controls of prescursor [sic] emissions to achieve success in meeting the standard. At a standard less than 70 ppb, achieving the standard over a broad portion of the western U.S. with current background ozone levels would be very difficult.”
Sam Ottmans, Research Associate, “Cooperative Institute for Research in the Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado in Boulder”

“Attaining a lower standard may be particularly challenging in high elevations of the western United States, which are more likely to be affected by ozone that has been transported long distances or that originated in the stratosphere.”
Owen R. Cooper, Research Scientist III, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado in Boulder

“In some areas, the proposed range is at or near the level of background ozone that is naturally occurring or internationally transported, pushing even rural counties far from industrial activity into nonattainment.”
Dale Moore, Executive Director, Public Policy, American Farm Bureau Federation

“Greene County, Indiana is a good example of a geographic area for which the current prescribed requirements of the Clean Air Act will not adequately address attainment of the standard. Under the proposed standard, Greene County would be designated nonattainment based on current measured concentrations within the county being above the proposed range. … However…Greene County is a rural county with no stationary sources and the county is impacted by transport as opposed to anthropogenic precursor emissions originating within the country.”
Tom Easterly, Commissioner, Indiana Department of Environmental Management

“On June 14, 2012, Wyoming saw ozone levels spike to 76 and 77 ppb at two air monitors in its western reaches. Using meteorology and other air quality data, state officials determined that a tongue of ozone-rich air had reached down from the upper atmosphere and made its way to the ground; other pollutants typical of man-made emissions, such as carbon monoxide, were absent.”
E&E News

“In Yellowstone National Park, background levels hover around 60 ppb, constituting 70 percent or more of total ozone concentrations, according to some studies.”
E&E News

“Big Bend National Park [in Texas], out in the middle of nowhere, has a 66 ppb level. So if they set the standard at 65, Big Bend’s in violation. How do you solve that?”
Dr. Michael Honeycutt, Toxicology Division Director, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

“Many of these parks, such as Canyonlands in Utah, are located far from any significant emission sources. … [O]zone values have remained fairly constant over the last 20 years and are routinely above the proposed range of 60 to 70 ppb (.060 to .070 ppm). It is also apparent from this figure that the problem is widespread throughout the intermountain west and is not limited to parks that are close to urban areas or to energy-producing areas.”
Amanda Smith, Executive Director, Utah Department of Environmental Quality

“In wintertime, tight inversions can form in the [Upper Green River] Basin, trapping pollutants. This, coupled with ultraviolet light reflection off the snow, leads to ozone exceedances in this relatively remote and unpopulated area.”
Cara Keslar, Air Quality Monitoring Supervisor, Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality

“Current levels of background ozone make up a substantial portion of the observed ozone across the U.S. … EPA agrees that there is no question that as the levels of potential alternative standards are lowered, background will represent increasingly larger percentages of total ozone and may subsequently complicate efforts to attain these potential standards.”
Dr. Allen Lefohn, President and Founder, A.S.L. & Associates