If you enjoy losing your freedom for a goal that is impossible to achieve, the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) has you covered.
MAG recently released its proposed measures to bring Maricopa County into compliance with ozone standards set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and it’s a total disaster. Along with a whole host of regulations on various business activities, the proposed restrictions include banning the internal combustion engine and gas appliances. That’s right, just like in California, they are coming for your cars and your gas stoves. But that’s not all. This proposal would also put limits on things like lawn and garden equipment, motorized boating, and water heaters.
The running narrative for the reason behind all of this is that Maricopa County has become a moderate nonattainment area of ozone limits under the Clean Air Act. This essentially means that, according to the EPA, our ozone levels are too high, and therefore we must adopt certain ozone control measures to get us into compliance. But what they won’t tell you is that the main reason our ozone levels are too high is that the federal government moved the goal posts back in 2015 when the EPA dropped its acceptable ozone levels from 75ppb to 70ppb.
Failure to comply with this EPA mandate could lead to fines, penalties, or the withholding of federal transportation dollars for Arizona. So, MAG contracted with a California-based consulting firm to identify measures to bring us into compliance. And what did they determine in their final report? That we need to cut emissions by 50 percent to achieve the EPA’s standard by the August 3, 2024 deadline. That’s not only impossible, it’s absurd.
An Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) Division Director recently commended Maricopa County for its “fantastic job” in reducing ozone pollution by 12.5 percent since 2000. So, in over 23 years we reduced ozone pollution by 12.5 percent, and now they think we can reduce it by 50 percent in a little more than a year! Keep dreaming, Maricopa County.
We could implement every single one of these destructive measures, and we still won’t come close to achieving the ozone standard—especially by that deadline. After all, look at what happened in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ozone levels increased from 79ppb to 87ppb even though business activity was halted, and we saw a dramatic decrease in cars on our roads. Does MAG really believe that putting more regulations on businesses and banning gas-powered cars to achieve the EPA’s outrageous air quality standards will somehow magically work this time?
The reality is that these higher ozone levels are being caused by natural events and international sources (primarily China). That means the issue is very much out of the control of our citizens. Now, as Maricopa County works with the ADEQ and Pinal County to complete review of this proposal and prepare an implementation plan to be given to the EPA by June, it should go back to the drawing board. Our state shouldn’t be forced to suffer billions of dollars in economic damage and destroy our quality of life to achieve an impossible standard. And the people of Arizona certainly shouldn’t have to sacrifice their freedom just so government bureaucrats can turn us into another California.
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