Michael Livermore

EPA’s Ozone Standard Is Insufficiently Stringent, Not Overly Expensive

CO-AUTHORS Richard L. Revesz


Industry groups and Republicans in Congress are calling the proposed air quality standard to cut back on smog (or ground-level ozone) the most expensive regulation ever. Is this a case of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) burdening the economy with an overly stringent standard, as the rule’s detractors would like the public to believe? The data suggest the opposite is true: the economic benefits of cutting back on smog far outweigh the costs. In fact, the benefits are so great that an even more stringent rule would be economically justified.

The EPA is barred by Supreme Court precedent from considering costs when setting the public health standards under the Clean Air Act, known as the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). The Court made clear that it does not want the stringency of these standards to be compromised by cost considerations. Nevertheless, every time the agency amends such a standard, it collects and publishes information on the economic costs and benefits.


Michael A. Livermore & Richard L. Revesz, EPA’s Ozone Standard Is Insufficiently Stringent, Not Overly Expensive, RegBlog (February 16, 2015).

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