You may not believe it from most press accounts, but the air quality in the United States has improved dramatically over the last 30 years, to the tune of a 54 percent reduction in the key air pollutants tracked by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). All of that success came as the nation’s economy grew nearly 200 percent. Properly balancing the nation’s air quality and economic needs is tricky balance, but it’s one that has worked.

EPA’s proposal yesterday to lower the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ozone unfortunately knocks this balance off the beam.

Considering the fact that the states have not yet fully implemented the current standard for ozone, EPA should complete implementation of the current standard before creating and imposing a new, more stringent one. Unnecessarily lowering the ozone standard negatively impacts American businesses’ ability to compete in the global marketplace by placing undue burdens on states and localities.

The existing ozone NAAQS protects human health and the science behind lowering the standard is questionable.  Even the Clean Air Science Advisory Committee (CASAC) has expressed misgivings about the methodology used in the analyses.

Given the fact that the current standard has not been fully implemented, that a number of state governors have expressed their concern over what this new standard could mean for their communities and businesses, and that the EPA’s own CASAC questions how the analyses was conducted, prudence should dictate that EPA reconsider its proposal.  American industry is on course to further improve our air quality and grow the economy, and the current Ozone NAAQS allows for these twin goals to be achieved.  EPA’s proposal doesn’t.