The American Petroleum Institute (API) is using a major new television, radio, print, and online advertising campaign to urge the Obama administration to keep the current ozone standards rather than implementing new ones.

The EPA is proposing strengthening the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone, based – the agency says -- on extensive scientific evidence about ozone's effects. The agency says the updates will improve public health protection, particularly for children, the elderly, and people with asthma as well as improving protection for trees, plants and ecosystems.

The API’s Howard Feldman said the current standards – set in 2008 – are the strictest ever imposed. “Safeguarding public health is a goal we all share, and peer reviewed science confirms that current standards protect public health and the environment,” Feldman said. “The nation’s air is getting cleaner and will continue to improve as we implement the existing standards. Further tightening of the standards wouldn’t necessarily improve air quality any faster, but it could significantly impact U.S. jobs and the economy."

The oil and gas industry warns that a new standard in the range of 65 to 70 parts per billion could cost $270 billion per year and place millions of jobs at risk.

“As proposed, the new standard could impose unachievable emission reduction requirements on virtually every part of the nation, including rural and undeveloped areas,” Feldman said. “States would have to place new restrictions on businesses of all sizes and add additional bureaucratic red tape to the permitting process for public works projects. These new rules could also prevent communities from improving their infrastructure such as highways or waste treatment facilities.”