Your editorial on ozone regulations suggests we would have no national ozone standards at all without the EPA's onerous new regulations ("Holding one's breath, GOP style," Dec. 8). Not true. The current ozone standards of 75 parts per billion (ppb) are the most stringent in history. Issued in 2008, the standards haven't even been fully implemented yet. In fact, EPA has yet to release implementation guidance for the 2008 rule. Even so, EPA reports that national average ozone levels have fallen 33 percent since 1980 — including 18 percent since 2000.

That's a dramatic air quality improvement that we can build on by allowing states to continue implementing the existing standards. There is no compelling health or scientific evidence to support issuing new standards before fully implementing the current ones, but EPA has done so anyway. Further tightening the standards to the proposed range of 65 to 70 ppb could be enormously costly to the economy. Due to naturally occurring background levels of ozone, even pristine areas of the country with no industrial activity, such as national parks, could be deemed out of attainment under new standards. Virtually any human activity that causes emissions could be restricted in the name of meeting unachievable standards, putting millions of jobs at risk.

Advertisement

We already have ozone standards that protect public health and improve air quality. Let's finish implementing those before rushing to enact what could be the costliest regulations ever.

Howard Feldman, Silver Spring

The writer is director of regulatory and scientific affairs at the American Petroleum Institute.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement