“We need the EPA and our federal government to work with us as allies, not as adversaries who continually implement onerous regulations and move the goalposts before we even have a chance to comply.”


That's what Joe Manchin said last week when he introduced legislation in the U.S. Senate to block the federal Environmental Protection Agency from implementing more stringent ozone regulations.


“With a price tag of more than $800 million per year in West Virginia, the EPA’s proposal to lower ground-level ozone limits will only weaken our state’s already troubled economy,” warned Shelley Moore Capito, co-sponsor of the Clean Air Strong Economies Act.


The EPA wants to lower the federal standard for county ground-level ozone from the 2008 mandate of 75 parts per billion (ppb) to 65-70 ppb. This stricter standard will put many counties across the country in a position of perpetual non-attainment.


Trying to meet impossible standards will wreak havoc on local, state, and national economies, wasting scarce resources now used productively by businesses, citizens, and county governments. Economic development will be stifled, with nothing to show for the sacrifice.


The negligible health benefits, if any, will come at the cost of a $270 billion drop in GDP and millions of jobs lost over the next 25 years.


What kind of mentality does a bureaucrat have to have to propose taking on such costly and needless burdens even in the best of times, much less now at a time of continuing economic distress? Now is the time for a moratorium on the current standards, not a tightening of them. Now is the time for a respite from regulation, to give our economy a chance to recover.


Manchin and Capito are right to try to rein in the regulators whose rules are supposed to make our lives better, not worse. As Ronald Reagan noted in his first inaugural address, “We are a nation that has a government – not the other way around.”

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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
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