By Steve Baas - Senior VP of Governmental Affairs, MMAC
For the first half of the year (and actually long before that) MMAC partnered with a coalition of business leaders and the state DNR on the EPA’s new proposed Ozone rules. In the late 2000s and the early 2010s, we worked with the EPA, DNR and local businesses to get our region out of the “non-attainment zone” classification for Ozone. If you are “non-attainment” it triggers growth restrictions and regulations on a region that limit economic competitiveness – especially in manufacturing – and add millions in additional utility costs. Because of the progress we made as a region in clean air, we achieved “attainment” status earlier this decade.
However, last year the EPA came out with new, stricter Ozone rules that would have placed the bulk of the region back in non-attainment. We opposed these rules and asked for modifications on a number of bases, most significantly:
For example, you could shut down all industry in Racine County and the impact on Ozone levels would be negligible since only 1% of Ozone in the county actually comes from stationary industry sources. (90% comes from out of the region and about 8% comes from mobile sources – cars trucks, buses, trains, planes, etc., and about 1% comes from utility sources.) We requested the EPA significantly narrow which areas were non-attainment by analyzing how ozone gets into region and by measuring its impact. Yesterday, the EPA announced its revised rules and their modifications very closely mirrored our recommendations.
The comparative maps of what EPA originally proposed and what they finally approved after our intervention are below as well as and our coalition brief to the EPA on the issue. This issue has a huge cost and competitiveness impact on our region in general and on our manufacturing economy in particular.