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Press Release

Nation's Largest Taxpayer Group Says New EPA Ozone Rules Will Suffocate Economy

For Immediate Release March 13, 2008
Pete Sepp, (703) 683-5700

(Alexandria, Va.) -- On the heels of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) decision to tighten air standards regulating ozone, a spokesman for the 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU) expressed disappointment over the new rules. NTU Vice President for Policy and Communications Pete Sepp, who submitted comments to the Bush Administration during the EPA's deliberations, offered the following reaction:

"America's consumers, businesses, and taxpayers were bracing for the equivalent of a category 5 hurricane from the EPA's new ozone rules, but instead were hit with something closer to a category 4 storm -- not much of a comfort, since there will still be plenty of damage to our economy.

Ironically, all the EPA had to do to improve the quality of our air was ... nothing. That's because existing standards will already mean cleaner air in years to come. Even though the final restrictions the EPA imposed were not as tight as originally planned, nearly 350 counties across the country are still likely to be 'non-compliant' with the ozone rules when implementation begins.

Those that do manage to reach compliance will have to spend more tax dollars, clamp down harder on struggling businesses, and, as a result, burden consumers with higher prices. Harsh regulations with consequences like these are never a smart move, but with our economic health already in danger, it could prove suicidal. Human health may be at stake too, because many of the conditions the new regulation would affect -- employment, ease of travel, and other air-quality measures -- also are important to our physical and mental well-being.

Like legislation, regulations can be reversed. Congress and the President should declare an immediate moratorium on implementing the new ozone rules. They should also pay heed to EPA Administrator Steve Johnson's guidance on future clean air policy, which recommends that attention be given to the costs of new rules when touting their supposed benefits."

NTU is a nonpartisan, nonprofit citizen organization founded in 1969 to work for lower taxes, smaller government, and economic freedom at all levels. Note: For further information on NTU's energy and environmental policy positions, visit