EPA Ozone Rule: One More Way to Hurt Poor and Millennials

In Economics, Environment, People, Technology, The Big Picture by Megan Toombs Kinard0 Comments


Let’s count the ways the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Government hurt poor people and Millennials.

Oh right, that would take years.

If you aren’t poor or a Millennial, don’t tune out. The EPA and the rest of the Obama Administration hurt you too.

Millennials and those under the poverty line (of any age) have something in common: they lack resources to adapt to changing economic conditions.

Policymakers, nonprofits, and citizens often bemoan the difficulty of breaking the poverty cycle. And make no mistake, it’s tough. And regulations like the ozone rule released today by the EPA make it tougher.

Poor people live paycheck to paycheck, trying to make enough to put food on the table, heat or cool their house, and gas up the car. Not to mention clothing, education, and health care.

What happens when regulations make those things more expensive? The cycle continues, and the least required expense falls by the wayside. Who cares about education if there’s no food on the table?

Millennials—young people in college and recently out of it—struggle to find jobs, and many are underemployed (as are older generations).  Forty percent of the unemployed are Millennials. Meanwhile, student debt has skyrocketed to $1.2 trillion. Ask a Millennial if the recession is over. “Are you kidding?! I have two or three degrees and I’m drowning in debt, but still no job!” Lucky ones might say, “It took me three years, but I finally found a job in my career path. Not a great one, but I’ll probably stay in it for a long time because I’m afraid to risk becoming jobless again.”

When the young aren’t taking risks, aren’t starting businesses, the economy suffers. It’s another difficult cycle to break.

Yet the Obama Administration and its EPA are constantly releasing new economy-destroying regulations.

The newest? Today’s new ozone rule. The current ozone standard is 75 parts per billion (ppb). The new regulation would tighten that to 65–70 ppb.

Seem like a small drop? It’s not. Current technology can’t achieve it easily. The Obama Administration claims health benefits require it, but the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) announced that “after an in-depth review of the EPA’s analysis, as well as a thorough study of the relevant scientific literature, the TCEQ has concluded that there will be little to no public health benefit from lowering the current standard.” Indeed, some of the EPA’s own analysis showed that lowering ozone levels would cause increased mortality.

Their own data show the new regulation is a bad idea, but that doesn’t matter. Data never matters. Your family never matters. Your kids never matter. Only ideology and political agendas matter.

While there will be no health benefits from reduced ozone emissions, the economic impact will be massive and widespread. A study by the National Association of Manufacturers estimates that the U.S. economy will lose $140 billion and 1.4 million jobs per year due to this ozone rule alone. These are jobs that could employ the poor and those just entering the workforce.

Oh, by the way. Areas that wouldn’t comply with the new regulation aren’t just most urban areas, which contain the highest percentage of inner-city poor and Millennials, but even some national parks, where high ozone concentrations occur naturally!

This rule will hurt Millennials and the poor the most. It’s time to stop this madness. Click here to see what you can do to get lawmakers’ attention and defeat an ideology that hurts real people—like your family.

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Megan is the Director of Communications for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, and Editor of EarthRisingBlog.com. You can follow her on Twitter @MeganToombs.

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