On Tuesday the PG’s editorial page writers were adamant in arguing that Congress and the President take dramatic actions to accelerate growth job. Decrying the awful state of the job market and lack of employment gains, the editorial said the time for political bickering must be set aside. Unfortunately, the calls for action do not ask Obama to offer up any rollbacks of the regulatory nightmare that has been created since he became President. How the writer expects the business world to shake off the impacts of the reduced return on investment and the higher levels of risk produced by the piling on of new regulations is not made clear.
Amazingly, one day later, the same editorial page offers up a sharp criticism of Obama’s decision to delay for a couple of year a job destroying EPA plan to lower the ozone level standard for a couple of years. The editorial argued that opponents’ claims the tighter ozone standard would create billions in additional business costs was an old rerun of the argument that a cleaner environment is the enemy of economic prosperity.
The problem with the editorial position is that ozone levels have fallen significantly over the last two decades, locally and across the country (California remains the poster child for serious ozone problems). Moreover, if the EPA’s desired reduction in the standard of 75 parts per billion to a range of 60 to 70 parts per billion were imposed at say 65 parts per billion, virtually every county in the country with suburban levels of population density would fail to meet the new standard-based on the latest EPA data. Locations in the northern tier of Western and Midwestern states will not be slapped with a non-attainment ruling. Hawaii will also escape the impact.
In short, with the new lower level standard in hand, the EPA would be in a position to go after any company contributing to ozone levels. The negative impact on new investment as well as current and future jobs would be substantial at a time when job creation is at a standstill.
The irony is that the cleanest air in any of the lower 48 states in terms of ozone concentration is in the 50 parts per billion range. So the EPA and the editorial writer are willing to do untold damage to the economy in an effort to get every monitoring station to within 15 to 20 parts per billion of the lowest readings currently being taken. The efforts to get everyone under the current ozone cap are costing enough already. Check with California where environmentalism reigns supreme and many ozone monitor readings are routinely100 per parts billion or higher. The EPA’s effort is designed simply to continue expanding its power.
For the people supporting the EPA, the costs imposed by what they do are irrelevant. Their objective is zero pollution beyond what nature itself creates. Although, if they could sue Mother Nature they would take a serious look at doing so after a volcano or earthquake throws out pollutants.