Joint Press Release - America’s Business Leaders Identify Proposed EPA Ozone Regulations as Major Threat to Job Creation and Economic Recovery

EPA estimates regulations may cost $52 - $90 billion per year, hurting job seekers trying to overcome 9.2% unemployment

Business Roundtable, American Chemistry Council, American Petroleum Institute, National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce today urged the EPA to delay issuing new ozone standards until 2013, when a review of air quality standards is required by law. 

Business leaders identified the proposed ozone regulations as one of the greatest threats to U.S. economic growth and job creation now coming from executive branch rulemaking. The regulatory process itself also makes the EPA’s ozone rule entirely discretionary; under law, the EPA's next scheduled standard ozone review would take place in 2013. In addition, the current rulemaking preempts the scientific review now being conducted by an EPA-appointed panel.

“Establishing these new ozone standards would be tantamount to putting ‘not open for business’ signs in counties across the country at precisely the wrong moment, when unemployment is high and on the rise,” said John Engler, President of Business Roundtable. “The unprecedented number of new and pending regulatory requirements comes at a significant cost, diverting substantial capital from more productive, job-creating uses.”

The groups issued their call for regulatory restraint after the EPA sent its draft regulations to the Office of Management and Budget for review. On Friday, business leaders sent White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley a letter warning of the damage the new regulations would do to the economy and employers.

Under the EPA’s most stringent proposal, more than 85 percent of counties with ozone monitors would fail to meet the new ozone standards, subjecting businesses in those counties to more regulation and making it difficult to build new industrial facilities or expand existing plants. Job growth would suffer.

“EPA's proposed standards are so stringent that it would put nearly every county in America in non-compliance, including areas such as the pristine Yellowstone National Park. Ozone levels continue to improve, and current regulations are already protecting our air and the health of our citizens. Changing the standard now could have a severe impact on economic growth and could prevent the very job creation that President Obama has identified as his top priority,” said Jack Gerard, President and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute.

“America’s chemistry industry is on the verge of adding hundreds of thousands of new U.S. jobs, thanks to abundant supplies of domestic shale gas, but EPA’s proposed ozone standard could bring that expansion to a screeching halt,” said Cal Dooley, President and CEO of the American Chemistry Council. “We hope the Obama Administration will think twice before imposing a standard that would put the brakes on new investment and new jobs all across this country. The Administration would be wiser to move forward with the yet-to-be implemented 2008 reduced ozone standard, which will reduce emissions while allowing for new factories and more U.S. exports.”

“This discretionary decision by the EPA to change the 2008 ozone rules in the middle of the game is harmful to manufacturers' ability to encourage investment and create jobs in America," said Jay Timmons, President and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). “The President has enthusiastically embraced the importance of manufacturing jobs, and we appreciate his executive order intended to curtail burdensome and uncompetitive regulations. Unfortunately, some in his Administration seem to be ignoring economic reality and the President's recent statements. The EPA continues to roll out an aggressive regulatory agenda that is overreaching, costly and puts our country at a competitive disadvantage with other countries. Manufacturers call on the President to reign in the EPA and end this hostile regulatory agenda for the sake of our economy now and in the future.”

“The EPA’s move to redo the ozone regulation that was only published three years ago – and is set to be amended again in two years – creates huge regulatory uncertainty that will adversely impact jobs in all areas of the country that will be put into non-attainment,” said Bruce Josten, Executive Vice President for Government Affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “State and local governments have not even had time to complete the plans from three years ago and now the EPA wants new plans again in two years. The EPA continues to elevate politics over policy, and American businesses are paying the price. American business needs regulatory certainty to create jobs and the EPA’s actions ignore this fact.”

The business leaders said that imposing such a costly, new regulatory regime runs directly in conflict with President Obama’s recent instructions to regulatory agencies to consider the economic impact and possible job losses resulting from the rulemaking.

To illustrate the county-by-county impact of the proposed regulations, Business Roundtable has developed an online, interactive map that includes data on ozone levels and unemployment in each county monitored by EPA. The map is available at: www.brt.org/ozonemap.