WASHINGTON, Nov. 25, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Chemistry Council (ACC) issued the following statement in response to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s anticipated proposal lowering the national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) for ozone. Published reports indicate that EPA will lower the standard from the current 75 parts per billion (ppb) to between 65 and 70 ppb. EPA will reportedly take comment on a standard as low as 60 ppb.
"The current ozone NAAQS of 75 ppb is the most stringent ever and has not been fully implemented across the United States. We are very concerned that EPA appears to be lowering the ozone standard before finishing the job on the current standard. With air quality improving, maintaining the current standard would enable further reductions in emissions while supporting U.S. manufacturing growth.
"The natural gas revolution is driving historic levels of U.S. chemical industry investment, with more than $135 billion in new plants, expansions and factory re-starts planned or underway. The nation will benefit as the new activity generates new jobs, increased GDP and tax revenue and access to innovative new products.
"Manufacturing growth could slow or stop in states that find themselves unable to meet a lower ozone standard. In these 'nonattainment' areas, facilities face regulatory requirements that make projects far more costly and complex. Most likely, companies wanting to expand or build a facility will be forced to shut down operations elsewhere or find the significant additional investment required to buy emission offsets.
"Industry has significantly reduced NOx and VOC emissions, precursors to ozone, over the past 20 years with state-of-the-art technology. Emissions of the six principal air pollutants fell 67 percent between 1980 and 2012, even as U.S. gross domestic product grew 133 percent. Voluntary and regulatory programs will continue to reduce ozone concentrations through 2030.
"We hope EPA will elect to take comment on retaining the current ozone standard of 75 ppb and will immediately reconsider its plans for a new standard. The Administration's path forward will determine whether America stays 'open for business' to manufacturing.
"We also hope that EPA recognizes there are a number of concerns about the implementation process for revised NAAQS. We look forward to sharing our views and recommendations."
The American Chemistry Council (ACC) represents the leading companies engaged in the business of chemistry. ACC members apply the science of chemistry to make innovative products and services that make people's lives better, healthier and safer. ACC is committed to improved environmental, health and safety performance through Responsible Care®, common sense advocacy designed to address major public policy issues, and health and environmental research and product testing. The business of chemistry is an $812 billion enterprise and a key element of the nation's economy. It is the nation's largest exporter, accounting for twelve percent of all U.S. exports. Chemistry companies are among the largest investors in research and development. Safety and security have always been primary concerns of ACC members, and they have intensified their efforts, working closely with government agencies to improve security and to defend against any threat to the nation's critical infrastructure.
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SOURCE American Chemistry Council