Oil lobby warns ozone rule will hurt businesses

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Prominent oil lobby American Petroleum Institute warned Tuesday that if the administration tightens federal standards for smog, roughly 94 percent of the U.S. would be "closed for business."

The push by API comes a day before the Environmental Protection Agency's science advisory board plans to meet to discuss the agency's upcoming five-year review of the ozone standards, which were first implemented in 2008.

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API is urging the EPA to consider the current standard set for the air quality regulation on ozone, the main component of smog, for its new updated rule.

The oil lobby released a map Tuesday revealing areas across the U.S. it claims would be forced into nonattaiment status.

"Our map shows that nearly the entire country would be out of compliance" if EPA moves forward with stricter standards, said Howard Feldman, director of regulatory and scientific policy at API.

Tightened standards could impose unachievable emission reduction requirements on virtually every part of the nation, including rural and undeveloped areas. These could be the costliest EPA regulations ever. 

Under the 2008 standard, ground-level ozone levels are currently set at 75 parts per billion, but according to a draft document released in February, EPA staff said the agency is considering tightening the standard to 60 parts per billion.

The EPA is expected to release a proposal for the new ozone rule by December 1.

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