Correction -- And One More Coming | Main | The Sentinel
August 27, 2011

Excessive Govt. regulation isn't a problem.
Not when you compare it to what's coming, that is. [ArthurK]

As J. Jonah Jameson might say about Spider-Man, "EPA! Threat or Menace?" Looks like the EPA is aiming for both with a new regulation that would be an ICBM aimed right at America's economy.

"Surely you jest", you say. Again, stop calling me Shirly! Here's what's coming up.

The EPA wants to adjust their regulation on allowable Ozone levels. (one amazing aspect of this is that we're talking about an modification to an existing regulation - not even a new reg.) Old level was 75 ppb (parts per billion or 0.075 ppm) - they want to lower that to the 60-70ppb range.

Is that a big deal?

According to an analysis conducted by the Business Round Table, 66 out of 736 counties nationwide do not meet the EPA’s current ozone standard of 0.075 ppm. However, if the EPA lowers the acceptable concentration down to 0.060 ppm, then the estimated number of non-attainment counties would skyrocket to 628 (out of 736) according to the Business Roundtable. That means fully 85 percent of the nation would be in non-attainment. The EPA’s own analysis is even more pessimistic, predicting that up to 96 percent of monitored counties would be non-attainment with the stringent 0.060 ppm threshold.

Oooh. And would it be expensive to meet the new limits?

...during the years 2020 to 2030, the annual compliance costs would exceed $1 trillion (in 2010 dollars). That cost works out to 5.4 percent of GDP in 2020. Total job losses by 2020 could reach 7.3 million by 2020, which represents an estimated 4.3 percent of the total labor force that year.

In other words, tack on 4.3% to the unemployment rate.(this is not the EPA's estimate. But they're not the only ones who are allowed to do math). I've heard a number thrown out on talk radio lately. Somebody is saying the cost of regulatory compliance in the US is 1.5 Trillion a year. And here just one modification to one regulation would be an extra Trillion.

But hey, what about the upside. Health!

Even the EPA’s own statements on the issue should give Americans pause: It has claimed the new regulations could save up to $100 billion per year on healthcare expenditures by 2020, yet the EPA also acknowledges that the compliance costs to business could be as high as $90 billion by 2020.

Are the standards realistic?

... the proposed 60 parts per billion standard is so strict, that even areas of Yellowstone National Park may not be in compliance. To the extent that some areas will be affected by ozone emitted elsewhere (even outside the United States), it may prove literally impossible to comply with the draconian new regulations.

I have a bone in this issue. I live in LA and have since the 1960s. I have intimate personal experience with Ozone and air pollution. In the early 1970s it was pretty nasty. There were days when I would be downtown and visibility was down to 3 blocks! But we fixed that. Smog controls on cars worked. LA still violates EPA smog standards but that's because they keep changing the standards! The air in LA today is, so far as my lungs can tell, clean! Somebody has to tell the regulators, enough!

Finally, I want to point out that it's possible the estimates by industry (one trillion, 5.4% GDP) might be too high. And it's possible that the EPA is right on in their estimates. I'll leave this as an exercise for the morons to carry out in comments. Can you come up with historical examples of the EPA estimating how much it would cost to comply with their regulations and how it actually worked out?

The comments were lost when an elite slay team of EPA hackers deleted the original post. Or when I was deleting some spambot comments and the whole post went away. It was one or the other.

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