On Tuesday, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) launched a multimillion-dollar media campaign against the EPA’s proposal to restrict ground-level ozone pollution limits. The new ads released by NAM indicate that some U.S. national parks have more pollution than the proposed ozone restrictions, and aim to spur lawmakers to discuss the ozone rule with constituents during Congress’s August recess.
While the National Parks Conservation Association released an analysis this week finding high levels of ozone and other air pollutants in national parks, the group directs criticism at coal-fired plants producing the pollution — not the parks themselves.
“As Americans flock to our national parks this summer to enjoy the great outdoors, they expect and deserve to find clean, healthy air. Sadly that is not always the case,” Ulla Reeves, manager of the group’s clean air campaign. “Our parks remain under threat from air pollution, harming visitors’ health, reducing visibility, and driving the impacts of climate change.”
The EPA rule, proposed last November, would revise the acceptable ozone concentration from 75 parts per billion (ppb) to 65 ppb. Ozone is a byproduct of pollutants caused by burning fossil fuels and the main component of smog. It has been linked to respiratory ailments such as asthma.
NAM released a study in February arguing the rule will constrain GDP growth by $140 billion annually, cost American business $1.1 trillion to comply and result in 1.4 million fewer jobs on average through 2040.
The EPA estimated the collective cost of implementation to businesses would be significantly less: $3.9 billion for the 70 ppb standard and $15 billion for the 65 ppb standard. The agency also promoted the health advantages it expected from the rule, projecting a 65 ppb standard to result in upwards of $38 billion in health benefits. Its research showed the new standard could avoid over 4,300 premature deaths by 2025, 180,000 missed work days and nearly a million asthma attacks in children.
NAM dismisses these claims and is moving forward with television and digital ads and a newspaper campaign that warn of long-term economic damage from the rule.
“The President still has time to do the right thing for America’s job creators and workers, and he can start by giving local communities the time and space they need to implement the current, and still relatively new, standard,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “Unfortunately, the new proposed ozone standard is so over the top, even places with no industrial activity for miles around will be considered noncompliant. There is a reason that hundreds of local and state officials and leaders from both parties and from across the country have stood up and spoken out on this critical issue. As their voices continue to amplify, it’s a message that the President and the EPA won’t be able to ignore.”
The EPA will issue a final ruling on ozone standards by October 1.