In 2008, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lowered the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS or Standard) for ground level ozone to 75 parts per billion (ppb). In Figure 1, areas in color have been classified by EPA as being in “non-attainment” with the 2008 Ozone Standard. Manufacturers in non-attainment areas will not be able to expand operations without other businesses in the area reducing emissions or shutting down operations. Economic growth in these regions will be severely hampered if not completely halted.

Figure 1: Regulations Today: 8-Hour Non-attainment Areas, 2008 Standard (75 ppb)

Source: EPA

Now five years later, EPA is again considering lowering the Ozone Standard to 60 ppb, or even lower. The picture for manufacturers could go from bad (above) to catastrophic (below). The areas in orange and red in Figure 2 represent areas that could be in non-attainment when EPA issues new Ozone regulations. With nearly all of the country in non-attainment, U.S. manufacturing growth would come to a standstill; our domestic energy boom would go bust; existing plants would be required to install additional expensive equipment; and the cost of nearly every manufactured good in this country would increase.

Figure 2: New Regulations: Projected 8-Hour Non-attainment (60 ppb)

Source: URS

EPA’s new Ozone standards have the potential to be the most expensive regulations ever administered against manufacturers.