EPA Finalizes Ozone Rule

Last Thursday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a final rule lowering the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for allowable ground-level ozone (O3). The threshold was lowered from 75 parts per billion (ppb) to 70 ppb. EPA was originally considering a threshold as low as 65 ppb. EPA stated the change was an update of the standard necessary for "...[reducing] Americans’ exposure to ozone, improving public health protection, particularly for at risk groups including children, older adults, and people of all ages who have lung diseases such as asthma." EPA also suggests the change will, in part, protect against "crop yield loss and visible foliar injury."

EPA estimates suggest the final rule will cost roughly $1.4 billion, an amount NRMCA believes is on the conservative side of the rule’s true impacts. NRMCA originally commented on the proposal back in March 2015, stating that the proposal has a"...strong probability to cause undue economic hardship to ready mixed concrete producers, their customers and material and equipment suppliers." NRMCA’s comments continued to note that, "Ozone standards at the levels considered in EPA’s proposal could push virtually the entire country into "nonattainment" – where local communities face burdens to commercial and industrial activity not only vital to creating jobs, but also to providing tax revenue that support important local services like public safety and education. This proposal’s hardship to the American worker is real and immediate, while the benefits are unverified and uncertain."

Click here or contact Kevin Walgenbach at kwalgenbach@nrmca.org for more information.

National Ready Mixed Concrete Association