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The industry group leading the charge against a new federal standard for ozone pollution is taking its case to U.S. mayors pushing for a strong one. 

More than 50 mayors signed a letter last week calling on President Obama to tighten the ozone standard from its current 75 parts per billion limit, something federal regulators are required to do by Thursday. 

{mosads}In their letter, the mayors endorsed pleas from health organizations such as the American Lung Association, which has called for a 60 parts per billion limit, lower than the range regulators are considering for the final rule. The mayors, green groups and health organizations say a stronger limit will help improve public health.

“Clean, healthy air and water are fundamental American rights and we are eager to work with your administration to secure and implement the strongest possible protections from smog pollution,” the mayors wrote in their letter, which was organized by Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker (R).

On Wednesday, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) told the mayors they shouldn’t move so quickly to embrace such a standard, saying it would, “threaten that quality of life and would result in devastating economic consequences and job losses for Americans in localities just like the one you represent.”

NAM and other industry groups have hammered the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed ozone standard, warning the cost associated with implementing it could cost more than $1 trillion and lead to job losses. A 60-parts-per-billion standard, the group said, could cost $270 billion per year and put 2.9 million jobs at risk (environmental groups have disputed NAM’s research on the rule).

Instead, NAM president and CEO Jay Timmons said mayors and manufacturers should focus on meeting the current standards rather than embracing new ones. 

“We know that progress will continue as investments underway and laws already on the books will drive improvements over the next decade and beyond,” he wrote in a letter to the mayors.

“We cannot risk hobbling our economy further, and diverting crucial financial resources away from developing the very technologies we need to make further improvements.”

Tags Ozone ozone rule

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