EPA Delays Ozone Rule

Published July 25, 2017

The Trump administration announced it would delay implementation of stricter ozone standards for one year.

At the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) request, a federal court agreed in mid-April to delay oral arguments in a case brought by Republican attorneys general in nine states challenging the Obama administration’s 2015 ozone rule, which had tightened the national ground-level ozone standard from 75 to 70 parts per billion, to give the agency time to review the rule.

On June 6, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt sent a letter to the nation’s governors saying there’s “insufficient information” on matters such as background ozone and smog drifting into the United States from China and other Asian countries to fully implement the 2015 rule on the existing timeline.

Studies indicate the ozone rule could impose higher costs on the economy than any rule EPA has previously issued. A 2014 study by the National Association of Manufacturers determined moving to a 65-parts-per-billion ozone standard would reduce U.S. gross domestic product by approximately $1.7 trillion between 2017 and 2040.

Responding to Pruitt’s letter, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, one of the attorneys general challenging the rule in court, issued a statement saying, “I am grateful for the leadership of EPA Administrator Pruitt in courageously pausing the costly and ineffective Ozone Rule, and I’m hopeful that the one year delay will provide time for the EPA to review the detrimental effects the Ozone Rule will have on the Texas economy.”

H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D. ([email protected])¬†is a research fellow at The Heartland Institute.