Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the finalization of its rule setting a new national ozone standard. The rule lowers the standard to 70 parts per billion (ppb) from the current standard of 75 ppb. This announcement comes four years after President Obama asked the EPA to withdraw the rule before finalization. At the time the EPA seemed to be leaning towards a standard of 65 ppb and the President's decision to delay the rule was a victory for industry. Today's announcement of a standard of 70 ppb is marginally better than an even lower standard, but it will still have a negative impact on industry across the country. As the EPA pushes for ever lowering standards they continue to close in on background levels of ozone, meaning compliance becomes less and less realistic for not only industry but the rest of the country as well. Although the rule is not the worst case scenario, the news is not positive for the mining community nor industries in other sectors.
To read the final rule click here.