Manufacturers protest proposed new ozone limits
The National Association of Manufacturers is running a major television ad campaign that charges proposed EPA rules reducing allowable ozone in the air are punishing businesses including those in Nevada for pollution coming from China.
NAM President Jay Timmons said a coalition of businesses and community leaders have worked for three decades to develop real clean air progress. But, he said, the new rules — that could take effect as early as Oct. 1 — could put Nevada and the rest of the western states in non-attainment, unable to meet the required 20 percent reduction in emissions.
“This regulation will make it harder to get the necessary permits to manufacture goods and build critical infrastructure like roads and highways in Nevada, while increasing the cost of energy for every business and household in the state,” according to NAM.
“These rules won’t hurt China,” the ad declares.
The association says the proposed rules could be the most expensive regulation in U.S. history, costing the economy $1.8 trillion between 2017 and 2040. In Nevada, it says, the loss could be $19 billion and 5,000 jobs a year.
NAM blames China for the ozone particularly in western states, saying researchers at NASA have confirmed air pollution from China is driving the levels of ozone.
The association isn’t alone in its concerns.
“Western states would face distinct challenges should EPA again lower the NAAQS (National Ambient Air Quality Standards) for ground-level ozone,” said Gov. Brian Sandoval on behalf of the Western Governor’s Association.
Ozone is produced by the reaction of nitrogen oxides with ultraviolet sunlight and by electrical discharges such as lightning. It’s a molecule consisting of three oxygen atoms and, in the upper atmosphere, provides earth with significant benefits by filtering out radiation.
EPA officials say it’s a significant contributor to a variety of respiratory problems, specifically asthma, because higher concentrations damage mucus membranes in animals.
But NAM says a study by the Texas Council on Environmental Quality shows no public health benefit from lowering the current standard and there’s no correlation between lower ozone levels and lower incidences of asthma.