The Obama administration is just weeks away from imposing a new ozone particulate standard that manufacturers say will cripple jobs and productivity in the U.S. and leave some firms and industries clinging to life.
The National Association of Manufacturers released a study suggesting the standard would cost the U.S. 1.4 million jobs and $1.7 trillion in productivity by 2040 if the standard is lowered from 75 parts per billion to 65 parts per billion. The EPA could bring it as low as 60 parts per billion, which the study projects would be catastrophic.
For business owners like Summitville Tiles CEO David Johnson, the change would be devastating. The firm is based in Ohio, which relies heavily on manufacturing for jobs and economic growth. Johnson recently wrote a column explaining what’s at stake if the Obama administration get’s it’s way.
“We have 88 counties in this state and under this new ozone standard, all 88 of these counties would be out of compliance, just by the stroke of the pen of this executive order of the president,” Johnson said.
In addition to burdening existing manufacturers, Johnson said the new ozone standard would stifle new business.
“It would essentially stop any new projects from going forward unless there were reductions in emissions in other plants in other areas,” he said. “In other words, there’s a trade-off. If you’re going to add new emissions, you’d have to reduce emissions somewhere else. So (if you) shut down a factory or a company goes out of business, then and only then would you have a permit to expand your particular operations.”
According to Johnson, American manufacturing has never received a gut punch like this from its own government.
“This is not a bill that’s been passed by Congress, hasn’t been vetted, hasn’t been studied,” Johnson said. “It’s simply President Obama and his EPA’s effort to combat what they believe is global warming. So yeah, it would be the most expensive regulation in the history of regulations.”
Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with David Johnson:
Johnson said the looming change is especially maddening when the EPA admits ozone levels are vastly improving over the past few decades.
“By EPA’s own public admission, concentrations of ozone have actually declined by 33 percent from 1980 to 2013, during the same period of time when the U.S. population had increased by 40 percent and the economy had more than doubled in size,” he said.
Summitville Tiles has been in business for four generations and for over a century. In recent years, however, Johnson said, a 700-member workforce has been trimmed considerably just to stay afloat. The firm is the only remaining member of its national trade association from the ceramic tile industry because most cannot compete with cheaper materials flooding the market from China and Mexico.
Johnson said the ozone regulations are part of a looming double whammy that could leave manufacturing in dire straits.
“This new Pacific trade agreement is a perfect example of another whole new category of countries that will be given preferential treatment to ship product into the United States to undermine and undercut our products,” Johnson said.
He added, “At the same time, we’re being hammered by these new regulations and those will be very costly to comply with.”
A public comment period is open before the ozone standard goes into effect, but Johnson thinks voicing opposition to the EPA is a waste of oxygen. He said the only way to fight back is at the ballot box.
“Another four years of Obama thinking could do irreparable harm to this country’s ability to compete and its ability to provide jobs,” Johnson said.
He said 2016 must be a change election for the sake of American jobs.
“I urge people to get involved in this next election and make sure that there’s a change in the White House,” he said. “That’s where it’s coming from. This is government by fiat, not government by deliberative democratic process.”