OPINION: Detroit News Editorial "New Ozone Regulations Should Wait for Science"

August 4, 2011

The Detroit News
August 4, 2011
Editorial: New ozone regulations should wait for science

EPA is pushing to put tighter mandates in place before completing its own scientific research

In a rare, if temporary, victory of pragmatism over ideology, the Environmental Protection Agency decided not to press ahead with the release of new smog standards. At least for now.

The agency had indicated the new regulations would be issued recently, despite pleas from local communities and businesses to wait until the EPA completes its own scientific review of ozone emissions in 2013.

That seems a reasonable request. Mandates that threaten to choke the economy ought to at least be based on the most complete scientific analysis available. A deep assessment of the economic impact would be welcome as well.

But the EPA makes policies as much on assumption as it does on science, and has been oblivious to the cost and consequence of its regulations. It most recently pushed through tighter emissions standards for coal-fired power plants despite warnings that it would drive up energy costs and limit production capacity, and over the expressed objection of Congress.

. . .

Last week, the EPA said it would allow its self-imposed July 20 deadline to pass. But perhaps not for long. A spokesman said the rules would be finalized "shortly."

Imposing regulations that have the real possibility of slowing the economic recovery without waiting for its own scientific research reveals a stunning arrogance and indifference on the part of the EPA.

The expressed goal of the president is to get the economy moving and Americans back to work. Agencies of the federal government should not be working against that mission.

There's a narrow window of opportunity to return the ozone regulatory process to a more rational timetable. Obama should insist that EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson wait for the science before imposing regulations that might do little to improve air quality, but could do great damage to the economy.

Read the article online here.