US manufacturing association report claims tighter ozone standard would carry $1.1 trillion in compliance costs

The US’s new, more restrictive ozone standard of 65 parts per billion (ppb) could cut America’s GDP by $1.7 trillion (£1.1 trillion) between 2017 and 2040, according to a new report commissioned by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the largest manufacturing association in the US.

Back in December 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed strengthening its air quality standards for ground-level ozone from the current level of 75 parts per billion to within a range of 65 to 70ppb. The new analysis also projects that the tighter standard would carry compliance costs of $1.1 trillion, and result in 1.4 million fewer jobs per year on average through to 2040.

‘Manufacturers in the United States are in the midst of a resurgence that’s fuelling job growth and economic recovery nationwide, but the proposed tightening of the ozone standard puts our momentum at great risk,’ warned Jay Timmons, the NAM’s president and chief executive, in a statement. He said the new data confirm the NAM’s concern that the EPA’s revision to the ozone standard represents ‘one of the most significant threats’ to the US economy and its manufacturing sector.

The EPA estimates that reducing pollution to meet the proposed standards in 2025 will yield annual health benefits of $19 billion to $38 billion annually for a standard of 65 ppb.