Miss. Senators Say Rule Would Have Impacted Mississippi Counties

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) today expressed their approval of President Obama’s decision late last week to scrap proposed new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations to lower the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone. Implementation of the new federal rule would have cost an estimated $1.7 trillion for annual compliance by 2020.

“The decision to abandon the Environmental Protection Agency’s ozone regulations is appropriate. I am convinced that the prospect of new and costly federal air quality regulations is among the factors contributing to uncertainty in the business sector that is tamping down job growth,” Cochran said.

“Many of EPA’s proposed rules would lead to higher energy costs and stifle job creation,” said Wicker. “The President’s decision to put a stop to the new ozone requirements is the right one, but other EPA rules could significantly hurt economic growth. The uncertainty caused by EPA and the Administration puts a wet blanket on job creators.”

The proposed rule by EPA would have set national smog standards between 60 and 70 parts per billion, but nearly 80 percent of U.S. counties would have failed to meet the new level. The penalties and cost of compliance would have burdened local governments, including many in Mississippi.

In July, Cochran and Wicker joined other Members of Congress to state their opposition to the change. In part, they wrote, “the economic impact of EPA’s proposal, while not determinative in setting NAAQS, are highly concerning, particularly in light of the billions of dollars in new costs that EPA has acknowledged would be imposed on America’s manufacturing, energy, industrial, and transportation sectors.”

While news of the President’s decision was welcomed, the EPA is set to finalize 30 major regulations and over 170 major policy rules over the next several years, according to the American Legislative Exchange Council.