The EPA today issued regulations that slash the levels of ozone allowed in the air.
“Bringing ozone pollution standards in line with the latest science will clean up our air, improve access to crucial air quality information, and protect those most at-risk,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, according to The Hill.
The order cuts allowable ground-level ozone from 75 parts per billion to between 65 and 70 ppb with plans to further lower that to 60 ppb.
While ozone is generally a byproduct of burning fossil fuels, it is also naturally occurring.
In fact, according to a recent study, a lot of the ground-level ozone in the Great Basin area comes from something called stratospheric intrusions that bring air from the stratosphere down to the surface.
Researchers took readings from a mountain top 30 miles northwest to Las Vegas and found that stratospheric intrusions added at least 30 ppb to the natural ozone level, which is usually 50 to 60 ppb. That pushes level to 80 ppb and violates EPA’s new standards, as well as the current standard.
The study also noted the region gets a lot of ozone from California and Asia, as well as wildfires.
National Association of Manufacturers estimates that the ozone rule could cost $270 billion a year —the most expensive regulation in history.
To which McCarthy replies, “Special-interest critics will try to convince you that pollution standards chase away local jobs and businesses, but, in fact, healthy communities attract new businesses, new investment, and new jobs.”
Compliance will mean shutting down or modifying power plants, factories, heavy-duty vehicles, farm equipment, off-road vehicles and passenger cars. For Nevadans it will cost $23 million more to own and operate vehicles.
Maybe the EPA will next ban people from living in Nevada. That might be the only way to comply with the new rule.
Or maybe the EPA will relent. Don’t hold your breath.