Oct 10, 2014

Even Yosemite Can’t Please the EPA

Time and again the EPA attempts to further its regulatory agenda and expand its power. It did so with its proposed rules on navigable waterways, and it is doing so again in its latest smog and ozone regulations that are so stringent even national parks might not be up to snuff.

The latest regulations would reportedly lower the ground level ozone limit from 75 parts per billion to 60-70 parts per billion, which is at or approaching naturally occurring background ozone levels in the environment. That change will cost Americans an estimated $2.2 trillion in compliance alone, reduce GDP by an estimated $3.4 trillion, and potentially set our still struggling economy into another tailspin.

California’s Central Valley will be hit particularly hard. The Central Valley continues to struggle to meet previous and current regulations at a great cost. Though many factors that contribute to the air quality in central California—like smog blown in from larger cities, weather conducive to ozone formation, and the topography of the Valley itself—can’t be controlled locally, we still get penalized.  The Central Valley has spent decades and hundreds of millions of dollars to clean up the air we breathe and we’ve been successful. Last year was the cleanest year on record.  The Valley is making progress to meeting the old rules, but we are now being told that that isn’t enough. After all the hard work, if this new standard is proposed it could put the Central Valley and most of the U.S. in a Catch-22 because its unfeasible to meet the standard and we get fined for not meeting it.

The last time the EPA proposed a similar rule was in 2011 and the President shelved it, rightly acknowledging that the American people didn’t want to endure more unnecessary rules that are harmful to our economy. Despite the EPA’s continued and aggressive agenda of regulatory overreach, the President must do as he did in 2011 and shelve this proposal again.