In November 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed lowering the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone. Specifically, the EPA’s proposal would lower the current ozone standard from 75 parts per billion (ppb) to a range of 65 to 70 ppb. This proposed range could have potentially devastating economic impacts on the country and Kentucky.
According to a February 2015 economic study conducted by NERA Economic Consulting and commissioned by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), lowering the standard could reduce U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by $140 billion and result in 1.4 million fewer jobs. Specifically pertaining to Kentucky, an ozone reduction to 65 ppb could result in a loss of $21 billion Gross State Product (GSP) until 2040, over 13,000 jobs lost per year and $347 million in total compliance costs for businesses. The reduction would make it extremely difficult for businesses to obtain the necessary permits for manufacturing and infrastructure projects. Furthermore, the proposed range would result in an increase in energy costs throughout the Commonwealth.
As such, the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce submitted its comments in opposition for reducing the ozone standard especially when the most recent reduction (75ppb), which was issued in 2008, has not been fully implemented. Read the Chamber’s full comments here.