American Elephants

President Obama Defers the Ozone Rules. by The Elephant's Child

After last week’s dreadful jobs report (zero new jobs) came out, President Obama made the call to defer the Environmental Protection Agency’s new strict standards on ozone emissions. In the fall of 2009, Mr. Obama’s EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson requested that the Bush Administration’s proposed reduction in permitted ozone rules, measured in parts per million, at 0 .075, be put on hold while her agency reconsidered the rule.

In January 2010, the EPA  said it wanted  to lower the standard even more, to between 0.060 and 0.070 ppm. But there is a problem.  This standard would have put 85% of monitored U.S. counties (628 out of 736) into formal ‘non attainment’ status. Under current law that would force utilities, businesses and agricultural operations to shelve any plans for expansion that they might have.

When doing what it does, the EPA, under current statute, is not supposed to consider the impact of its rules on jobs or costs. This allows the EPA’s rulemakers to operate in a world free of the economic realities that govern most of the rest of life.

Just in Indiana, 175 businesses appealed to Ms. Jackson to get rid of the ozone rule. The EPA estimated that compliance costs could come to $90 billion a year by 2020.  This is intended to advance by 2 years an EPA rule review that was scheduled to take place in 2013. With unemployment at 9.1%, someone worried about the president’s re-election problem must have noticed the consequences of Ms. Jackson’s rulemaking.  Most of the Midwest would be out of compliance, as well as Florida and California. Not good.

What was being shut down, was the prospects of the Obama administration.  Mr. Obama made the call to defer the rule until 2014. This decision won’t really help the economy, but it demonstrates the vast authority the president has to revise or repeal many of the job destroying rules and regulations. And there are so many job-killing regulations. Obama could make things a lot better if only he wanted to.

Our problem is that he doesn’t want to.  Control is more important than jobs.

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