Over 60,000 firms represented by 14 business organizations have asked Congress to keep the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Clean Air Act strong. The groups have also expressed concern that the EPA's half-year delay of pending ozone rules will be costly to U.S. companies. The delay could result in higher health costs due to increased employee sick-day absenteeism and related medical costs, according to the American Businesses for Clean Energy.
The group's joint letter reads in part as follows: ‘â�¦ [S]mall-business owners support some of the key strategies needed to reduce pollution and transition to a clean energy economy. A recent national poll of small business owners conducted by Small Business Majority â�¦ found that 61 percent of respondents agree that moving the country to clean energy is a way to restart the economy and make their businesses more competitive in the global economy, and that 50 percent support comprehensive clean energy and climate policy…. Larger businesses also support EPA's authority under the Clean Air Act and understand that it has spurred innovation and economic value for the U.S.’
The groups supporting the Clean Air Act include the Businesses for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy, the American Wind Energy Association and the American Sustainable Business Council.
In addition to indicating strong U.S. business support for the Clean Air Act and the EPA, the groups cautioned that the EPA's recent decision to delay moving ahead with an ozone pollution rule by six months will come with a real price tag in terms of sick workers and family members, resulting in lost workdays, lower productivity and other adverse bottom-line impacts for companies.
According to the EPA, the new smog standards would ‘help prevent up to 12,000 premature deaths and 58,000 cases of aggravated asthma and save up to $100 billion in health care costs.’