New air quality standards give some states trouble

February 11, 2015

As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency develops new standards for the Clean Air Act, intended to roll out as early as Fall 2015, many states are still struggling to meet the regulations currently in place.

Ohio's greater Cincinnati area is especially feeling the pressure, where intense smog caused by factories and cars has already made it difficult to achieve satisfactory air quality results. Megan Hummel, spokeswoman for Hamilton County Environmental Services told a Cincinnati reporter, "We have a lot of air quality issues in this area. A lot of traffic comes through, and we're in a river valley, so it's holding those pollutants down."

Newer, more stringent rules would make it even tougher to make the grade, and non-compliance could lead to further regulations as well as expenses for industries and vehicle owners. Already the potential for further costs is causing debate between businesses and environmentalists. Company owners say the new rules will cost jobs and money, while environmentalists state they will lower expenses by improving public health. 

The penalty for violations varies depending on the severity of the infraction, but most states are expected to come up with definitive plans to actively lower levels of pollution if they consistently fail to meet standards. The EPA often enacts increased monitoring and tougher emission rules for factories and cars against states that repeatedly fail to hit the mark.

Industry leaders and business groups are already speaking out against the EPA's new limits, saying that it would undoubtedly hinder growth, in an area that prides itself on being a top manufacturer in the country. The National Association of Manufacturers reported the new standard would cost, "2.9 million jobs nationwide and reducing America's gross domestic product by $270 billion."

To avoid increasingly strict regulations, companies and state agencies should work with environmental consultants, to ensure full compliance with all federal mandates.