Can Proposed Ozone Requirements affect Louisiana Economy?


A proposal from the United States Environmental Protection Agency could affect industrial growth in Baton Rouge.

The plan calls for a stronger standard for air quality, or ozone.

So how is our air quality?

Vivian Aucoin, Environmental Scientist Manager at the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, said, “Actually the state’s air quality is probably the best it’s been since the beginning of the industrial revolution. Industry around the state, local governments and everyday people have done what they needed to do to bring the air quality in the state back to the level that is safe for everyone”.

Now according to the environmental protection agency, we should be doing much better.

In December the EPA proposed that the national ozone standards be lowered from 75 parts per billion to between 65 and 70.

Parts per billion measures the quality of our air.

For instance, if you imagine Baton Rouge as a large swimming pool, 1 part per billion would equal one drop of the entire pool.

Just the proposal itself already made a negative impact. Four economic development projects that chose to go somewhere else.

Adam Knapp, President and CEO of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, said, “These would have been billions of dollars of construction and hundreds of jobs. Manufacturing jobs, high paying jobs, but the challenge of getting air emission reduction credits in the marketplace and the possibility of this ozone non-attainment status, it drove them to look at other places”.

What is adding up to our overall emissions?

Knapp said, “Emissions often time are thought of as something that’s caused primarily by industry. Well, actually naturally occurring sources are just as likely to be the reason why areas are in non-compliance.

The goal now is to see if the EPA can find a balance between cleaner air and a thriving economy.

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