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New Economic Report Shows Chicago Area Will Be Hit Hard By Obama Ozone Standard


Report Confirms Concerns of State/Local Leaders

Washington D.C., – A new report released today by the Center for Regulatory Solutions (CRS), a project of the Small Business Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council), provides new economic data revealing the economic pain the Chicago region will suffer if President Obama allows the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to tighten the current ozone standard of 75 parts per billion (ppb) into the range of 65-70 ppb.

The report, “EPA’s Proposed Ozone Regulation Puts Chicago Area Jobs at Risk” shows that six counties surrounding Chicago – Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will – would be ground zero for the most onerous reduction obligations. These six counties are home to 65 percent of the state’s population, 73 percent of the state’s GDP and 70 percent of the state’s employment. Under a National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) of 65 ppb for ozone, five of the six counties would be in non-attainment, which would impose hefty financial burdens on the economy at large. As documented by the National Association of Manufacturers, dramatically tightening the ozone NAAQS will be the most expensive federal regulation in history, with an estimated cost of $140 billion a year.

“This report confirms the concerns raised by local leaders of both parties about the devastating economic impact President Obama’s ozone regulation will have on the city of Chicago and the entire state,” said Karen Kerrigan, President of SBE Council and CRS. “No wonder local officials and small business owners are raising the alarm about the impact of this rule.

“Let’s keep in mind that by working collaboratively at the local level, significant improvements are being made. In fact, over the past thirty years, we have made significant progress cleaning up our air. But if federal bureaucrats in Washington get in the way and impose a costly regulation that will significantly undermine local efforts, then this progress may be lost. 

“In 2011, President Obama appeared to heed the concerns of state and local leaders when he pulled back on tightening the ozone standard. We hope he will do so again.”

The CRS report comes just one week after the National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) joined the Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for an important public discussion on the economic consequences of the EPA’s proposed ground level ozone rule on the state’s economy and jobs.

Also last month, the National Association of Manufacturers held a panel discussion at the U.S. Conference of Mayors. The panel featured Democrats and Republicans from cities in Arkansas, Arizona, Louisiana and California who oppose tightening the standard. In fact, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, National Association of Counties, National League of Cities and National Association of Regional Councils called on the EPA in March to retain the existing NAAQS for ozone, set in 2008, which still has not been fully implemented.

Furthermore, state regulators have also issued warnings about tightening the ozone NAAQS. In a report released last month by the Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies, a majority of states raised concerns about their ability to meet the new standard, due in large part to background levels of ozone.  While EPA claims it can deal with this issue, many states believe the federal government’s regulatory tools are limited and inadequate. These concerns are spread throughout the U.S. and are not limited to a specific geographic region.

Also last month, NAM released poll results showing 67 percent of the public rates local air quality as excellent or good and more than half oppose stricter federal environmental regulations on local businesses.

What Illinois Leaders Are Saying About Impacts of Ozone Regulation 

Highlights from the Report