Manufacturers target 3 states in campaign against ozone rules

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is targeting Colorado, North Carolina and Kentucky in an ad campaign against potential new ozone rules that the group said could be the most costly regulations ever.

NAM said Thursday that it is launching radio and Web ads in the three states.

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The radio ads say that manufacturers work hard to protect the environment while creating jobs.

“But now, politicians and special interests in Washington are trying to impose unrealistic new ozone regulations on Coloradans that will do little to improve our environment,” the narrator in the Colorado ad says. Similar statements are used in the other states.

The ads say that in each state, the new rules will cost thousands of jobs annually and billions of dollars to the economy.

In a blog post, the NAM called all three states “critical” in fighting potential new rules.

“Manufacturers are ready to keep providing the economic fuel that has helped to put our economy back on track,” Greg Bertelsen, the group’s director of energy policy, wrote in the post. “But we need a sound regulatory landscape in order to do that. This week’s ads underscore this fact.”

Ozone is a byproduct of pollutants commonly emitted by burning fossil fuels. An advisory panel of scientists recommended this year that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reduce the allowable ground-level ozone concentration in air to 60 to 70 parts per billion, from the current limit of 75.

If the EPA were to adopt the lower standard, states and areas with higher ozone concentrations would have to implement policies to reduce ozone, possibly including rules for manufacturers.

NAM released a study it commissioned in July finding that a limit of 60 parts per billion would cost millions of jobs, $2.2 trillion in compliance costs and a $3.4 trillion hit to the gross domestic product by 2040.

In a conference call with reporters Thursday, EPA chief Gina McCarthy did not say whether her agency would move to adopt the recommended lower standard.

“We’re in the process of taking a look at what the clean air science advisory committee told us about what the data shows, what the science is telling us,” she said.

EPA said it hasn’t reviewed the NAM study. But it hasn’t proposed changing the standard, so it’d be too early to estimate the costs, said spokeswoman Liz Purchia.

“The agency has not yet proposed a rule as and is still reviewing the available technical information,” she said. “Any economic analysis on a new standard would be premature at this point and not based actual agency actions.”

The EPA has committed to deciding by December whether it would propose a lower standard or keep the current one. 

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