• Jan 7, 2010



The Environmental Protection Agency has asked the U.S. government to enact strict new smog regulations for ground-level ozone that the agency says negatively effects the health of millions of Americans. The request to cut ground-level ozone levels to .006 to .007 parts per million comes less than two years after the Bush administration set standards of .0075 particles of pollutants per one million.

That doesn't sound like a very big change, but the New York Times reports that the agency quotes the price tag of such a change at between $19 billion and $100 billion per year by 2020. Oil manufacturers, manufacturing and utility companies are the main source of air pollution and they will have to spend heavily to meet the proposed regulation.

Much of the costs associated with making powerplants and manufacturing facilities cleaner will fall directly on the shoulders of consumers, though a great deal of that money could possibly be recouped by cheaper health care. The EPA estimates that we would save between $13 billion and $100 billion per year in health care costs if our air were cleaner. Even more important are the estimated 12,000 lives that will be spared each year from heart and lung disease if big industry emits fewer pollutants.

Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson underscored the negative impact of smog to our health, adding that ground-level ozone "dirties our air, clouds our cities and drives up our health care costs across the country." National Association of Clean Air Agencies executive director S. William Becker adds that local governments have been asking for tougher standards "for 30 years," and that cleaner air "will ensure that public health is protected with an adequate margin of safety."

Not surprisingly, the oil lobby isn't all that happy with the EPA's request. The American Petroleum Institute calls the proposal costly and likely ineffective, classifying it as an "obvious politicization of the air quality standard setting process that could mean unnecessary energy cost increases, job losses and less domestic oil and natural gas development and energy security."

[Source: New York Times | Image: Ethan Miller/Getty]



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  • 37 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Whatever happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas...

      Vegas, Baby!
        • 5 Years Ago
        I thought Vegas was a third world country.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Actually, I think the main cause of such smog are those pesky humans. Let's just kill them all.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I can't stand libs who can't come to grip with the fact the the world is getting colder and climate change is bunk.

      November 2010 will be great. RIP to the greens!!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Well, I think this has to do with smog, not global "climate change."

        Although IMO, if a city has an issue with smog, it should be the local authorities who are best able to decide what they want to be done for their local conditions. I don't see why the EPA needs to butt its nose into this. Whatever happened to the concept of letting lower levels of governments do their job?
        • 5 Years Ago
        paul34 - because the polluters don't want to have to meet 34,672 different standards, and sometimes much of the problem pollution is coming from upwind...
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Turnersville:

        I realize that this is a car forum but seriously: What does being liberal or conservative have to do with not wanting to have to breath in s**t into my lungs? What is it that makes it Conservative to protect business' that mess up the environment? Surely you aren't saying that smog is not harmful to the environment....
        • 5 Years Ago
        "I can't stand libs who can't come to grip with the fact the the world is getting colder and climate change is bunk."

        1) You say climate CHANGE is bunk.
        2) You say the world is getting colder.

        Isn't "getting" colder a climatic change? You're so dumb you can't even make a single cohesive argument.
        • 5 Years Ago
        TURNERSVILLE

        Yeah sure, when the Republican religious freaks will lose their minds in the face of election results. Repubs have zero chance of winning, set the weed pipe aside will ya?
        • 5 Years Ago
        When I say "climate change" I mean man made. You libs think that CO2 which makes up 1/3 of 1% of the greenhouse gases can actually trap heat and made the world colder/warmer is insane. You just want to regulate and push your job losing feel good bull on America and watch in turn into a socialist hole like Europe. If you don't think that the Lib/Dems are not going down in November then you have to leave San Fransisco.

        I bet you smart libs don't know that humans make up .022% of all of the worlds CO2 output. Thats why Al Gore and his money grubbing crew say cows are the problem. I love it!!
        • 5 Years Ago
        it's a collective action problem. if there aren't nationwide requirements, states can race to the bottom to attract polluting industries to boost their economy, hurting other states economically while concentrating environmental pollution for some locations (usually the poor).

        in any case, anyone who can read the writing on the wall should know that we're inevitably moving away from a hydrocarbon-energy driven economy.
      • 5 Years Ago
      What makes no sense to me is that we are debating pollution's effects on humans decades after it had people staying inside their homes in many cities back in the 70's because were they to go outside and breathe the air they were warned by their local government that were they to have asthma or some other disorder they would be impacted. Most of that pollution was the result of the automobile's tailpipe. So the argument that air pollution is harmful to humans is unarguable. Now 40 years later we are asking other industries to do what the auto companies have accomplished regarding air pollution to do their part cleaning up our air. What's wrong with that? I can remember that the auto companies said they would be put out of business were they made to comply and....

      • 5 Years Ago
      American Petroleum Institute calls the proposal costly and likely ineffective, classifying it as an "obvious politicization of the air quality standard setting process that could mean unnecessary energy cost increases, job losses and less domestic oil and natural gas development and energy security...........plus it will invite terrorism, domestic violence, and cheese food product costs to skyrocket - sending your nacho per-chip price sky high!"
      WTF - who DOESNT want less crap in the air?!

        • 5 Years Ago
        People who have an interest in keeping the status quo. Sorry, not a very valid source.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Boyprodigy1 & why not the LS2LS7?
        Yea, I guess you guys are right - allot of short-sighted selfish greedy people out there who just want to get their jollies while they are alive and could care less what their kids have to deal with.
      • 5 Years Ago
      - Rjlahart

      I fail to see this as a political issue. Air is owned by all of us, why shouldn't the people be allowed to control what belongs to them collectively? The people polluting can make all the arguments they want that things would be better if we would just keep letting them pollute, but they don't own the air, we do. Just pass the costs on to your consumers and marvel as the market adjusts to a different pricing structure.

      The jobs argument is absolute bunk as well. If this is going to cost $19 to $100 billion a year that doesn't mean we are going to be lighting this money on fire. The money spent cleaning up the air goes to the companies who produce products and services to get the job done. We don't lose jobs, they just shift to different industries. So excuse me while I go boohoo in a corner for an oil job that got shifted to a clean air related job. Which reminds me. Time to buy stock in companies that focus on cleaning up industrial pollution.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I meant to say rjlahart, I agree with you...
      • 5 Years Ago
      While I agree with this in principal, the last thing American industry needs is more of a handicap when it comes to competing with other countries. Can't win. Can it be the 1950s again, please?
        • 5 Years Ago
        China doesn't need unions! It's a worker's paradise, remember! The proletariat will rise to overcome the bourgeoisie...
        • 5 Years Ago
        Sure it can be the 50s again, if we want it to be.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love_Canal#The_Love_Canal_disaster

        When I go to China and see a guy doing welding with nothing but a piece of cardboard to shield his eyes from damage, I say to myself "Self, why are we hamstringing our business with stupid regulations? All it does is hurt us."
      • 5 Years Ago
      This would have been great. 20 years ago when we could afford it.

      The worst economy in 80 years is not the time to strangle business even harder.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah, much better to strangle/choke ourselves and our children (literally) to save a few bucks. Brilliant! Because we all know what's important in life is $ and not health or quality of life.
      • 5 Years Ago
      i think it's funny when people argue against environmental regulation. but i mean smog? really? you're gonna argue against cleaning up smog? the air's already clean, huh? we're in a recession and this will just stifle all of u.s. business? really?

      do you people just not believe in anything scientists/researchers say? they've studied the issue objectively. have you? let me see your peer-reviewed studies. or wait, do you just like to rephrase the tidbits you've heard from people espousing their own business interests? oh, that's what you do. you think smog is good for us?

      the epa is a notoriously weak government organization, proposing extremely weak environmental regulation. imagine if we actually had correct environmental stewardship...

      do you really think that reducing smog will destroy businesses? you don't think that improved general health will allow people to work more productively and take less sick leave, thus helping our economy? you don't think that alleviating respiratory conditions will reduce health care costs because people won't have to go to the doctor as often?

      when there is pollution of the commons (ie the environment), we all pay for it. i hope you enjoy your "tax"; you're breathing it in right now.

      sure, it is less expensive when we all die sooner. but if we're all less productive while we're alive, that doesn't seem like a boon to economic prosperity.

      • 5 Years Ago
      Does "oil manufacturers" mean "oil refiners"? Or is there something else I don't know about this?
        • 5 Years Ago
        it's those damn biodiesel cooks, they're ruinin' our mother nature.. haha
      • 5 Years Ago
      That's not smog. It's dust. Turns out vegas is a windy dessert.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Being a Las Vegas resident for the last four years, I can tell you it actually IS smog. Of course, when it's windy it sometimes gets dusty. But when the wind is gently blowing, the smog just goes away and the city usually looks clean and the sky has a beautiful blue color.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Hard to say. The lives 'saved' will certainly last longer, but will it be any less expensive to maintain those lives? Not to be all cold and objective about it, but dying fast rather than long and hard is a heckuva lot cheaper on the health system.

      For example, pneumonia used to kill a lot of OPs relatively quickly...now they live on on respirators and carryout 02 bottles, popping antibiotics and complaining about copays.

      The law of unintended consequences rules.

        • 5 Years Ago
        It would indeed be much cheaper to send them all to Carousel.
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