Local officials and businesses say revisions are unreasonable and will cost jobs.
New rules from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are drawing a dark cloud of criticism from several states and business leaders.
Arizona, joined by four other states, is suing the EPA over revisions to the Clean Air Act.
On Oct. 1, the agency announced the updated standard: the reduction of ozone levels from 75 parts per billion (ppb) to 70 ppb, “based on extensive scientific evidence about ozone’s effects on public health and welfare.”
But the Arizona Attorney General’s office says the new standards are almost impossible for Arizona to achieve.
“The new (rule) completely ignores Congress’ intent that the EPA set ozone levels for the states that are actually attainable,” said Attorney General Mark Brnovich in a statement. “The financial stakes for this state are enormous if we are unable to comply and I am going to do everything within my power as attorney general to protect Arizona.”
Eric Massey, air quality division director for the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, said Arizona’s geography and climate make it more complicated for the state to comply with the new 70 ppb standard.
“The sunshine is a big component of it,” Massey told the Arizona Republic. “So is pollution drifting in from California or even Asia. Improving air quality in a low-population zone like La Paz County will be difficult, when the only local ozone source is passing freeway traffic.”
The National Association of Manufacturers estimates the new rule could eliminate 1.4 million jobs and cost $140 billion a year.
Besides the five states—Arizona, Arkansas, New Mexico, North Dakota and Oklahoma—an Ohio-based coal company, Murray Energy Corp. has filed suit against the EPA over the ozone standards.
Check back for more updates and developments.