Friday, May 15, 2015

Don't be bamboozled by latest oil industry attack on proposed smog standards

Dear friends,

 I know a lot of you have not been on the job as long as some of us.  But I do want to make sure you have some context over the latest pricey oil industry effort to attack EPA’s proposed smog standards.  Please don’t be bamboozled.
Here is the reality – and there are a few brief citations below:  For the past 45 years, the oil industry has consistently opposed tougher clean air standards. Industry has generally made the same broken-record type arguments which basically boil down to claiming the air is clean enough, we are already making progress, yada yada yada.   

But industry has consistently lost these battles.  Check the record for yourself – the oil industry fought against the Clean Air Act in 1970, which provided the basis for smog standards. (Industry also argued against taking lead out of gasoline—something it doesn’t like to talk about much now!)  It fought against smog standards in 1979 (even though the EPA at the time was weakening earlier standards).  It fought against smog standards set in 1997.  And it fiercely opposed smog standards set in 2008 – the very standards industry appears to brag about today. 

Yes, we have made progress, but it’s been in spite of industry opposition.  

The references below work backwards.   

From BNA Daily Environment Report, 9/6/2007 

Witnesses in Houston Offer Differing Views
On Proposed Changes to
previous hitOzonenext hit Standard

HOUSTON—Health care professionals, government officials, and environmental organizations urged the Environmental Protection Agency at a Sept. 5 public hearing to “do the right thing” and adopt more stringent regulations to limit previous hitozonenext hit exposure, but industry trade groups, including representatives of the oil, gas, and chemical industries, recommended the current standard remain in place…. 

Industry Says Change Unnecessary.

Representatives of the oil, gas, and chemical sector told EPA of their progress in improving air quality in Houston and other major Texas cities, and questioned the science behind changing the previous hitozonenext hit standard.

Kyle Isakower, director of policy analysis with the previous hitAmericannext hit previous hitPetroleumnext hit previous hitInstitutenext hit, said oil and gas companies have contributed to improving air quality, with future improvements coming from current regulations designed to meet current standards, such as cleaner fuels.

“The proposed new standards will impose real costs on real people that may very well fail to provide any commensurate benefit,” Isakower said. Since 1990, the oil and gas industry has invested more than $148 billion toward improving environmental performance of its products, facilities, and operations, and progress toward cleaning the air will continue, he said.

Isakower called the science behind changing the previous hitozonenext hit standards “uncertain” and “variable.” The economic impact of tightening previous hitozonenext hit standards should highlight the significance of “getting it right,” he said.

“There are numerous questions regarding the state of the science and whether new research findings warrant further revisions of the standard,” Isakower said. The only toxicological evidence of human health effects since the last standard review, a peer reviewed published study, found no statistically significant lung function impairment at levels below the existing standard, he said.


Dozens of Groups Sue previous hitEPAnext hit Over Rules  [BNA, 9/23/1997]

At least 38 groups, states, or individuals have sued the Environmental Protection Agency over its recently promulgated ambient air quality standards for previous hitozonenext hit and particulate matter, according to documents filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

The following is a list of the parties that petitioned the court to review the rules. It may not, however, be a complete list, as all petitions filed with the court were not readily available for public inspection Sept. 19.

American Trucking Associations

U.S. Chamber of Commerce

American Iron and Steel Institute

American Automobile Manufacturers Association

National Mining Association

American Petroleum Institute

National Association of Manufacturers

American Forest and Paper Association

Chemical Manufacturers Association

American Public Power Association

Appalachian Power Company

Midwest previous hitOzonenext hit Group

Non-Ferrous Founders' Society

Ohio Mining and Reclamation Association

Washington Legal Foundation

David Matuson and other parties

Citizens for Balanced Transportation

American Farm Bureau Federation

Idaho Mining Association

Western Fuels Association

National Paint and Coatings Association

National Association of Home Builders

Nevada Mining Association

Newmont Gold Co.

National Petroleum Refiners Association

Equipment Manufacturers Institute

Indiana Farm Bureau

National Stone Association

GPM Gas Corp.

Small Business Survival Committee

West Virginia Chamber of Commerce

United Mine Workers

National Automobile Association

States of Ohio and Michigan

State of West Virginia

Kennecott Holdings Corp.

Columbia Falls Aluminum

National Small Business United




American Petroleum Institute v. Costle

Nos. 79-1104 et al. (D.C. Cir. September 3, 1981)

The court upholds the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) primary and secondary national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for ozone.The petitions for review consolidated in this case challenge the primary and secondary national ambient air quality standards1 for ozone promulgated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Clean Air Act, as amended. 42 U.S.C. §§ 7401, et seq. (Supp. III 1979). EPA established both the primary and secondary standards for ozone at 0.12 parts per million (ppm) in final regulations published on February 8, 1979. 44 Fed. Reg. 8202. Petitioners American Petroleum Institute (API), et al., the City of Houston, and the Commonwealth of Virginia contend that the Administrator of EPA erred by establishing too stringent standards.


Arguing to keep Lead in Gasoline --1972

·        “Gulf is committed to whatever action is necessary to protect the public health and welfare.  However, we do feel that before the EPA imposes regulations that can have an adverse effect on the nation’s economy and unnecessarily waste our nation’s natural resources, there should be general agreement in the medical and scientific community of the actual need to restrict lead additives from a public health standpoint…such agreement does not exist at this time.”

o   R. B. Phillips, Executive Vice President of Gulf Oil Corporation, May 1972[1]


·        “The evidence presented by the [EPA Administrator] for control of lead levels in leaded gasoline does not justify the airborne lead level target of 2 µgms/m3.”

o   T.A. Differ, Acting General Manager of Getty Oil Eastern, May 1972[2]


·        “To state arbitrarily that an ambient air lead concentration exceeding two micrograms per cubic meter is associated with a risk of adverse physiologic effects is believed to be incorrect, is alarming to the public, and retards efforts aimed at rational and speedy attainment of a healthful environment for all.”

o   Humble Oil & Refining Company, May 1972[3]



[1] Letter to Deputy Assistant Administrator for Air Programs, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, May 19, 1972.
[2] Letter to Deputy Assistant Administrator for Air Programs, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, May 4, 1972
[3] “Statement: Gasoline Lead Regulation by the EPA,” Houston, Texas, May 15, 1972.

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