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Manufacturing Associations: EPA Rule Could Hurt Job Growth

NAM says EPA standard would limit growth in a time of uncertainty

Last week, 35 state manufacturing associations joined the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) in asking President Obama not to move forward with the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard (or NAAQS). The associations, whose letter can be found here, told the president the proposal will create more uncertainty for manufacturer and increase compliance costs for each state, in turn hurting job growth.

For background, on July 11, 2011, the EPA sent its reconsideration of the 2008 NAAQS for Ozone to the White House Office of Management and Budget, signaling the agency's commitment to move forward with the proposal. The EPA is looking to reduce the current air standard of 75 parts per billion (ppb) to a level between 60 ppb and 70 ppb. The reduction, according to the National Association of Manufacturers, will be costly for manufacturers and may affect facility construction and expansion in the U.S.

In the letter sent to President Obama, the state associations write: "The EPA's proposal to lower the ozone NAAQS will cause unnecessary and severe economic harm. Large swaths of the United States will be designated as non-compliant with the new rule and will be unable to comply any time in the near future, if ever. Lowering the existing 75 ppb standard to the lower end of the proposed range of 60 ppb will almost triple the number of counties designated as being in violation of the Clean Air Act (CAA). This designation will lead to new mandates and costs under the CAA, discouraging new businesses from locating in non-attainment areas and restricting the growth of existing businesses."

The Manufacturers Alliance estimates the proposal will cause the loss of 7.3 million jobs by 2020. In addition, the new proposal will add $1 trillion in new regulatory costs per year between 2020 and 2030.

In the letter to the president, the state associations write that even the EPA's own estimates suggest the new standard could add $90 billion per year to operating costs faced by manufacturers and other sectors.

Read the letter sent to President Obama here.