Obama Administration Preparing New Ozone Restrictions

Published November 29, 2010

The Obama administration is finalizing more stringent ozone standards that will require businesses and consumers to purchase more costly equipment and technology.

In 2008 the Bush administration lowered maximum allowable ozone levels from 84 parts per billion (ppb) to 75 ppb. In January 2010 the Obama administration proposed further lowering the ozone ceiling to somewhere between 60 and 70 ppb. The Obama administration is still considering exactly where to set the new ceiling, and it is expected to announce its decision around New Year’s Day 2011.

“We will announce the final rule as soon as it is ready—this is an important and complex rulemaking and EPA is working to ensure we get it right,” EPA press secretary Brendan Gilfillan said in an October press statement.

The new restrictions are expected to further dampen the already struggling economy.

The Machinery and Allied Products Institute, known as MAPI, released a study showing a 60 ppb ceiling would destroy 7.3 million jobs by the year 2020 and cost the nation’s economy more than $1 trillion between 2020 and 2030.

“These regulations are going to slow down business expansion and our economic recovery and keep more Americans unemployed than would otherwise be the case,” Howard Feldman, director of regulatory and scientific affairs at the American Petroleum Institute, explained during an October conference call with reporters.

James M. Taylor ([email protected]) is managing editor of Environment & Climate News.