Ozone Regulations
In 1997 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established new ozone
standards. The EPA also placed special restrictions on twenty-two states in the

Ohio Valley and Midwest regions to prevent emissions from coal-burning power
plants from being carried into the New England States by wind currents.
(Tennessee is one of these twenty-two states.) Both of these rulings were
recently either struck down or placed on hold by Federal Appeals Courts. Why:

The regulations put into place in 1997 by the EPA were more restrictive than the

1990 standards. The regulations limit the amount of ground level ozone and fine
particle pollution permitted. Ground level ozone is produced by nitrogen
oxide(NOx) which is created by burning fossil fuels. Since gasoline and diesel
are both fossil fuels, then NOx is a major component of automobile emissions.

Several members of the trucking and fossil fuel industries, as well as members
of the twenty-two state region, have challenged the regulations in Federal Court
and have been successful in blocking the implementation of the new rules. In the
past two months, two separate Federal Court Of Appeals panels have ruled that
the EPA’s authority to establish clean air standards is not properly delegated
by Congress under the Clean Air Act. Therefore, since the EPA is a part of the

Executive branch of government and not the Legislative, they have no authority
to produce regulations on their own. The plaintiffs in the case also argued that
the amount of pollution a person can tolerate has not been established and until
it is the EPA should not make the current regulations more restrictive. How: The
main actors in this event are the American Trucking Associations and their
fellow plaintiffs, the twenty-two state coalition, the EPA, and the Federal

Appeals Court. Why would the American Trucking Associations and other fossil
fuel burning industries want to limit the EPA’s authority? What do they have
to gain? Last year, according to the EPA’s own press release detailing their
enforcement efforts in fiscal year 1998, the EPA referred 266 criminal cases to
the Department of Justice, as well as 411 civil court cases. Approximately half
of the civil cases required violators to change the way they manage their
facilities or to reduce their emissions or discharges. The EPA also assessed
almost $93 million dollars in criminal fines and another $92 million in civil
penalties. In addition to fines and penalties, polluters spent over $2 billion
dollars to correct violations. Not included in this estimate would be the legal
expenses incurred or the advertising and marketing costs required to mend a
damaged pubic relations image. Clearly it is in the industries’ best financial
interest if the regulations are less restrictive. Many companies that spent
large amounts of money to meet the 1990 Clean Air Act standards would have to
spend even more to meet the amended 1997 standards. Do the states in the
twenty-two state region have another reason to argue against the standards?

According to Sean Cavanagh’s article in the April 4, 1999 edition of the

Chattanooga Times/Free Press, Atlanta lost $700 million in federal roads money
as a result of failing to come up with a pollution containment plan. In
addition, the state of Georgia had to fund a state "superagency" to develop
and enforce transit plans that meet federal standards. The states joined the
industrial groups in claiming that the new standards are too strict and are
unnecessary. Chattanooga is not expected to meet the new requirements by the
year 2000 deadline and Chattanooga Mayor Kensey and Tennessee Governor Sundquist
were two of the public officials who protested the new standards as being too
strict. Are the new standards too strict? How does the EPA determine the
required levels? According to the press release issued by the EPA following the
court’s decision, the Federal Courts are not questioning "the science and
process conducted by the EPA justifying the setting of new, more protective
standards." The EPA claims that their standards, which are designed to limit
the affects that smog and soot have on people with respiratory problems, protect

125 million Americans including 35 million children. The Federal Courts only
have issue with the constitutionality of certain parts of the Clean Air Act that
allow the EPA to establish clean air regulations in the interest of public
health. The EPA is recommending that the Department of Justice appeal the ruling
to the US Supreme Court. Several interest groups are closely watching the case.

The powerful industrial and truckers lobby groups are supporting the plaintiffs,
while several environmental lobby groups and health associations, such as the

American Lung Association, are supporting the EPA’s efforts. All