Online Exclusive: Ex-Ohio EPA Director Talks About Proposed Smog Regulation
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) did a little recycling of its own in January by again proposing strict standards for ground-level ozone, or smog, that it first recommended in 2007.
American Farm Bureau required the EPA to reconsider its final 2006 fine particulate standard, which, like the smog rule, was much looser than CASAC's recommendation. The decision reinforced the EPA's duty to prioritize human health when setting air quality standards, Warren says, regardless of the cost.
Health problems associated with smog include aggravation of asthma and an increased risk of death for people with heart and lung disease, according to the EPA. Additionally, smog can stymie tree growth, damage leaves and weaken vegetation's resistance to disease.
Moreover, companies looking to expand into nonattainment areas must meet a standard known as the lowest achievable emission rate. That standard requires the installation of the most aggressive emission controls, regardless of the cost, and potentially the purchase of hard-to-find VOC offsets from area facilities that have either shut down or scaled back.
"It's going to handcuff business growth," she says. "The standard will impose a lot of costs at a time when business is already really hurting."