GOP governors blast EPA ozone rule

Eleven Republican governors told the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Monday that its proposed rule to reduce ozone is “onerous” and “job-crushing.”

The governors, who called themselves the “chief protectors of our states’ economies,” said that the EPA’s November proposal could put up to 96 percent of the counties currently monitored for ozone above the threshold.

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That could put major restrictions on business, development, infrastructure construction and other activities, they warned.

“New development resulting in any new ozone emissions in the area must be offset with emission reductions elsewhere — turning economic development into a zero-sum game,” the governors wrote. “The end result, of course, is that the costs will be passed on to hard-working Americans.”

The governors signing the letter include potential president contenders for 2016 like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Among the other leaders signing the letter are Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.

They sent the letter to the EPA the day before comments are due on the agency’s proposal to restrict the allowable ground-level ozone to between 65 and 70 parts per billion, from the current 75 parts per billion.

Areas that do not comply with ozone rules may have to take measures to curb the fossil fuel pollutants that create ozone, an ingredient in smog.

“Our states’ resources are not infinite,” the governors said. “At a time when we should be focusing on growing the economy and creating jobs, the EPA is imposing a steady stream of complex, expensive new regulations that require an army of policy and technical experts and lawyers to decipher, respond to, and ultimately implement.”

The National Association of Manufacturers estimates that complying with the rule could cost $1.1 trillion, making it the most expensive regulation ever.