Parts of Alabama miss the lowest standard, study says
Most of Alabama fails to meet a new limit that environmentalists are seeking for ozone levels, according to a report from the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). That could mean small business owners would have to invest in new technology or equipment to meet the new limit, if it’s enacted.
The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to cut ozone levels to 65 to 70 parts per billion (ppb), down from the current 75. The agency is also seeking public comments on the idea of setting the limit at 60 ppb, which environmental groups support. Most of the country, including Alabama, doesn’t meet that 60 ppb standard, says NAM, based on 2011-2013 data.
Small businesses that could be affected by a lower standard include dry cleaners, gas stations, manufacturers, printing operations and bakeries.
NFIB opposes the new regulations. “The rules could require small business owners to buy and install specific controls for emissions,” says Dan Bosch, NFIB manager of regulatory policy. “So rather than invest that money in their business, they’d have to invest it into this new equipment.”
In addition, cars, trucks, planes and construction and agricultural equipment can emit ozone-forming compounds.
“Unlike regulations that target specific sectors, a new ozone standard would directly affect virtually every sector of the economy because a wide range of stationary, mobile and area sources emit ozone precursors,” the NAM report stated.
The new regulations could also result in current power plants having to shut down, increasing prices. The NAM study estimates the 60 ppb standard would cause residential electricity prices to increase by 3.3 percent, and industrial electricity prices by 5.5 percent, from 2017 to 2040.
Overall, the 60 ppb ozone standard is projected to reduce gross domestic product by $3.4 trillion from 2017 to 2040, NAM wrote, saying that enacting the standard would be “the most expensive regulation ever imposed on the American public.”
EPA will issue final ozone standards by Oct. 1.
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