On September 2, 2011, President Obama ordered the US Environmental Protection Agency to delay until 2013 its proposed new regulations to require businesses, industries, farmers, and drivers to further restrict emissions of atmospheric ozone precursors – which give rise to smog. The President made this decision because of the cost and uncertainty the new regulation would have had on industry and local governments.
USEPA’s Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards could cost $90 billion per year according to the Agency’s own estimates.
What could we do with $90 billion a year? This is a fair question, especially when we are considering a planned government-mandated expense that will be incurred annually, and borne by Americans from 2013 and beyond. So, just how much is $90 billion a year?
- $90 billion is enough to fund the entire annual operations of the US Social Security Administration, including all the actual checks it presently sends to America’s retirees, disabled individuals, and their eligible dependents. http://www.ssa.gov/budget/2012FullJustification.pdf (see page 10 of 244)
- $90 billion is $20 billion more than the total annual employment budget of the United States government in 2010. http://www2.census.gov/govs/apes/g10aspep.pdf
- $90 billion is enough to launch the Space Shuttle fleet an additional 120 times, at actual average cost of $750 million per flight for the last five years of the program. During the Shuttle program’s 31 year active flight schedule, a total of 135 missions were flown, before the program was canceled due in part to budgetary concerns. http://www.space.com/791-total-tally-shuttle-fleet-costs-exceed-initial-estimates.html
Significantly, these examples are of our government’s approved expenditures, built up over time and with great debate, and care. When the USEPA revisits this issue in 2013, the cost to American industry, consumers, and local governments are again likely to be extremely high. Objective and transparent cost/benefit analysis is desperately needed
USEPA was pressing ahead of its own schedule, without benefit of new science, and despite receiving thousands of cautionary or negative comments (see “What people are saying about Ozone NAAQS”) from groups representing millions of Americans.
As he prepared to stand for re-election, the President ordered his EPA Administrator to temporarily stand down from her plan to implement the new Ozone NAAQS in the Fall of 2011. This regulation was not stopped. It was only delayed. The Obama Administration plans to re-issue the Ozone NAAQS in 2013.