ozonatedThe Environmental Protection Agency consistently justifies its onerous regulations by insisting that they safeguard human health and environmental quality.

From carbon dioxide standards that slash coal industry operations and jobs to Draconian new water rules that let EPA control farm ponds and puddles, the agency claims that benefits to people, plants, and wildlife far outweigh any costs.

For EPA’s new ground-level ozone standard, however, there is no doubt costs will greatly exceed any asserted benefits. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has said those costs cannot be considered — even though they are enormous, while the benefits are minimal to nonexistent.

It was only in May 2012 that EPA decided which U.S. counties met its 2008 ozone standards, which cut allowable ground-level ozone levels from 80 parts per billion (ppb) to 75 ppb (equivalent to 75 seconds in 32 years).

Now EPA wants to slash allowable levels even further: to 70 or even 60 ppb, which many researchers say is below natural ozone levels. Even Jackson Hole and Teton County, Wyoming, could be out of compliance, mostly due to emissions from pine trees.

Predictably, EPA says the lower limits are vital for limiting smog, reducing respiratory problems, and protecting public health in “at-risk populations.” It bases this claim on a 2009 study directed by University of California-Berkeley School of Public Health Professor Michael Jerrett, who claimed to find a connection between jerrettlong-term ozone exposure and death.

Other researchers sharply criticized Jerrett’s work, saying he made questionable assumptions about ozone concentrations, did not utilize clinical tests, ignored the findings of other studies that found no significant link between ground-level ozone and health, and failed to gather critically important information on test subjects’ smoking habits. When they asked to examine his data, Jerrett refused.

Yet EPA apparently is basing the new ozone standards solely on Jerrett’s analysis. That’s typical. The agency usually focuses on one or two studies that support its regulatory agenda, while ignoring those that cast doubt.

Moreover, many organizations that support the lower ozone limits have financial ties to EPA. The American Lung Association, for example, received $25 million from the agency over the past 15 years.

The EPA also channels vast sums to its “independent” Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, which likewise rubber-stamps agency pollution claims. Fifteen CASAC members have received more than $180 million since 2000. To avoid disagreement within its ranks, the committee excludes industry and other experts who might cite embarrassing contrary studies or question EPA findings.

When tighter regulations are imposed, manufacturers, farmers,and consumers are forced to pay more “for their own good.” Buy our “protection,” they are told, or something bad might happen to your family or business.

As MIT’s Jonathan Gruber said about ObamaCare, government elites also make decisions for us because Americans are too stupid to understand economics. We’re also apparently too stupid to understand EPA’s pseudo-science, or at least powerless to do anything about its shady research and financial arrangements.

The ozone standards would be the most expensive regulations in American history. A 2010 Manufacturers’ Alliance/MAPI study calculated that a 60 ppb standard would render 85% to 95% of U.S. counties out of compliance, cost the economy $1 trillion per year, and kill 7.3 million jobs by 2020….

Hopefully, the new Congress can offer some relief from EPA’s heavy-handed tactics.

Congress should review all EPA data — including the “secret science” it uses to justify myriad regulations — as well as the agency’s documents, alliances, payouts and decisions. It should then delay, defund, and ultimately reverse rules that do not pass scientific muster.

The principle is simple: No data and no integrity result in no regulation and no taxpayer money to impose it.

For the full article, please go to Investor’s Business Daily: http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials-perspective/120314-728940-new-ozone-rules-have-enormous-costs-few-benefits.htm#ixzz3L22sbxhU


  • Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for CFACT and author of Cracking Big Green and Eco-Imperialism: Green Power - Black Death.