Conservative groups target ozone law in push for rule's rollback

Conservative groups target ozone law in push for rule's rollback
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A coalition of 60 conservative groups is asking lawmakers to overturn the Obama administration’s new ozone pollution rule and change the law under which it was written.

The bill the groups endorse, the Ozone Standards Implementation Act, would for the first time require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to consider the costs of tightening the ozone standards when it proposes such restrictions.

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It would also push back deadlines for new standards and have the EPA consider new ozone rules every 10 years instead of every 5 years.

“The ozone regulation places a tremendous burden on communities across America,” the groups wrote to the heads of the House and Senate committees with jurisdiction over the EPA.

“The result of a nonattainment designation can be disastrous and bring economic activity to a halt. Local governments risk losing federal highway funds. Oil and gas operations, with the royalty and tax revenue they bring, may cease. Manufacturers may be forced to relocate or shut down, destroying jobs in the process,” they wrote.

The coalition includes some big names such as Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks, along with state and local groups and others with smaller footprints.

Last year’s ozone regulation is extremely unpopular among conservatives, Republicans, the fossil fuel industry and many business interests.

It lowered the allowable ambient ozone concentration to 70 parts per billion from the previous 75 parts per billion. Businesses fear that complying with the standard could lead states to restrict manufacturing, power generation and other activities that generate pollutants that create ozone.

The EPA and its allies in the environmental and public health communities counter that the public health benefits, including better respiratory health resulting from reduced pollution, greatly outweigh the $1.4 billion in projected costs.