Ohio is cutting its ties with the National Association of Clean Air Agencies, a group of state and local air pollution control officials that routinely champions environmental activist claims and controversial U.S. Environmental Protection Agency restrictions. Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Director Scott Nally announced his state will leave the Washington, D.C.-based organization by the end of the year.
Nally said Ohio EPA must spend its monetary resources on environmental stewardship and technical support, rather than “lobbyists.”
Parallel Association on the Way
During the past few years the National Association of Clean Air Agencies (NACAA) championed EPA policies to limit mercury emissions from power plants, reduce air pollution that crosses state lines, and cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and other sources because of their alleged contribution to global warming.
Nally plans to create his own organization that will compete with NACAA. The most likely candidates for membership are states that have already left NACAA or plan to do so. Texas, North Dakota, and Florida have already withdrawn from NACAA, and they soon will be joined by Ohio and Louisiana.
Dissatisfaction with Obama’s EPA
State environmental protection agencies are expressing increasing dissatisfaction with U.S. EPA overreach under the Obama administration. The Obama administration’s increasingly stringent restrictions on affordable energy sources are particularly vexing to state environmental officials.
Texas and Louisiana are major producers of oil and natural gas, and North Dakota produces coal, oil, and natural gas. EPA regulations targeting emissions from refineries, power plants, heavy equipment, and other facilities associated with the production and burning of fossil fuels will have an adverse effect on these states’ economies. Florida has been locked in a conflict with EPA over the agency’s efforts to broaden its authority under the Clean Water Act to manage the state’s waterways.
Ohio, a Rust Belt state which has been losing jobs and residents for decades, is benefitting from an economic rebound, propelled by the energy-rich Utica Shale in the eastern half of the state. Ohio may soon become a prime target of EPA regulations focusing on fossil fuels, and NACAA is likely to support such regulations.
“Nally’s frustration is understandable,” said Daniel Simmons, director of state policy at the Institute for Energy Research. “All too often, NACAA appears to be a cheerleader for the administration’s policies of tightening regulations regardless of their impact on ordinary Americans.”
Simmons pointed to a NACAA-produced primer on global warming as an example of the group pushing an agenda rather than representing member states on environmental issues.
“I expect other states to follow Ohio and leave the activist NACAA for greener pastures,” Simmons added.
Bonner R. Cohen, Ph. D. ([email protected]), is a senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research.