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New EPA Ozone Regulation Could Destroy US Economy

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A new study in the US by NERA Economic Consulting commissioned by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) claims a new ozone regulation from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the most expensive regulation ever imposed on the American public.

MOSCOW, August 14 (RIA Novosti) - A new study in the US by NERA Economic Consulting commissioned by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) claims a new ozone regulation from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the most expensive regulation ever imposed on the American public.

The study calculated that the new regulation could reduce US GDP by $270 billion per year and $3.4 trillion from 2017 to 2040; result in 2.9 million fewer jobs per year through 2040; cost US households $1,570 per year; and increase natural gas and electricity costs for manufacturers and households across the country.

According to The Wall Street Journal, in 2010 the EPA estimated that annual compliance costs for a new ozone standard of 60 parts per billion would be $90 billion in 2020, which, according to the NERA study, far underestimates the potential damage the new standard could do to the US economy.

Under the Clean Air Act the EPA is required to select primary National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone that protect the nation’s public health within an “adequate margin of safety.” The EPA lowered the primary air-quality standard from 84 parts per billion to 75 parts per billion in 2008, but even before states fully implemented the standard, the EPA proposed revising it to 60 parts per billion, The Wall Street Journal reports.

According to The Wall Street Journal, should a city or country exceed the new 60-parts-per-billion standard, the agency will declare it in nonattainment, leading to severe penalties, potentially stagnating economic growth. States in nonattainment are required to reduce emissions either through expensive upgrades or the shutdown of industrial facilities until the ozone standards are met.

At 60 parts per billion, nearly every state in the US could find itself immediately in nonattainment, according to the Wall Street Journal. The new standard would even put America's national parks in nonattainment.

Ground-level ozone is formed through a chemical reaction when nitrogen oxide (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) interact with sunlight, the NERA study explains. The formation of ozone is attributed to emissions from power plants, industrial facilities, automobiles, gasoline vapors and solvents, as well as natural sources, such as plant life and fires.

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