Big business groups filed suit Wednesday against the Environmental Protection Agency's far-reaching smog rules, which have been criticized by industry as the most expensive rules in history.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the largest business group in the country, and the National Association of Manufacturers, representing a sizable chunk of the U.S. economy, added their voices to lawsuits against the rules in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. The groups argue that the rules, which are meant to curb smog-forming ozone, are too stringent and unnecessary, and must be rolled back or risk significant harm to the economy.
"The EPA set an unattainable mandate with this new ozone standard that will slow economic growth opportunities," the chamber's William Kovacs, senior vice president for regulatory affairs, said in a statement. "This new standard could halt progress in communities across the country as businesses are forced to slow expansion plans and outside development looks to other regions."
Kovacs said this rule is one of many being implemented by the EPA that "has created a web of regulations that makes it almost impossible for businesses to succeed in this already tough economic climate."
The ozone rule would ratchet down emissions under its national air quality standards from 75 parts per billion to 70 ppb, which the chamber and others have argued would place many national parks with no industrial activity out of compliance with the standard. In addition, the ozone standards that EPA initiated in 2008 have not been attained. The groups argue that the new rule should be rescinded, and the 2008 standard remain the law of the land.
"[T]he EPA's new rule 'moves the goalposts' on states and communities working to achieve the 2008 rule," Kovacs said. "Moreover, numerous areas with growing populations and high levels of background ozone simply have no means of complying, and will be unfairly punished by EPA as a result."
The National Association of Manufacturers, which also filed suit in the D.C. Circuit court, is "unworkable and overly burdensome" for the industry it represents.
"Manufacturers across the United States need regulations that provide balance and allow us to be globally competitive," said Senior Vice President and General Counsel Linda Kelly. The suit was filed in federal appeals court by the industry's legal arm, the Manufacturers' Center for Legal Action.
"Further, our air quality is improving, and ozone levels are down more than 30 percent since 1980, yet the administration insists on moving forward with tightening an already stringent standard," she added. Industry "will continue to fight this new standard that inflicts undue pain on the companies that build things in America."
Individual companies like Murray Coal filed against EPA in the fall, along with states. The two business groups add a significant new voice opposing EPA going into the new year.