Costly Proposed Air Standards Lack Scientific Basis

In testimony delivered in Houston today, officials with the American Petroleum Institute said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed new ozone pollution standards would exact significant costs on consumers, jobs and the economy without delivering commensurate benefits.  Furthermore, they said there was no solid scientific justification for imposing the more stringent standards.

“Without a clear certain scientific basis for selecting a different numeric standard, the ozone standard need not be changed now.  We urge the Administrator not to pursue this proposal,” said policy advisor Ted Steichen, who presented API’s testimony.  He said EPA’s own studies failed to support a lowering of the ozone standards.

Steichen emphasized that tremendous progress has been made improving the nation’s air quality, in large part through oil and natural gas industry efforts, and said more improvements will follow – under the existing ozone standards – because of pollution controls in place or soon to be implemented.

EPA’s trends data (Figure 1 above), according ot API, shows that the emissions from six criteria air pollutants dropped by 60 percent between 1970 and 2008, while vehicle miles traveled (VMT) went up 163 percent.

“Thanks to implementation of the Clean Air Act,” Steichen testified, “our air quality has demonstrably improved.  Since 1990, the oil and gas industry invested more than $175 billion – that’s billion, with a ‘B’ – towards improving the environmental performance of its products, facilities, and operations.”

Both cleaner vehicles and cleaner fuels will contribute to further improvement, he explained, with “annual emission reductions from the use of Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel with cleaner technology engines … equivalent to removing the pollution from more than 90% of today’s trucks and buses by 2030.”

Steichen said moving forward with the proposed new standards could “impact citizens while they are still suffering from a severe recession, in the very communities where we need to be creating jobs.”

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