Ozone levels in Maricopa County are lower today than they were 20 years ago. And the reality is that most of the ozone currently in the region is either due to natural events or coming from China. But you won’t hear facts like that from the Left. Instead, they’d rather hatch a scheme to enforce their climate change agenda on the American people, and one of their biggest targets in the past year has been Arizona. Now, after failing to convince our state to ban gas cars and gas stoves, the Sierra Club is attempting to use the courts to force this agenda upon us.

An Impossible Standard

Much of this began in September 2022 when the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reclassified Maricopa County as a moderate nonattainment area of ozone limits under the Clean Air Act. This basically means that, according to the EPA, Maricopa County’s ozone levels are too high and therefore our state—including its citizens, motorists, and businesses—must be forced to adopt ozone control measures. Failure to comply with these measures could mean fines, penalties, or the withholding of federal transportation dollars for Arizona.

Of course, what they won’t tell you is that the main reason our ozone levels are too high isn’t because there are more cars on the road or Arizonans like trying new recipes on their gas stoves. The main reason our ozone levels are too high is because the federal government moved the goal posts back in 2015 when the EPA dropped its acceptable ozone levels from 75ppb to 70ppb.

To the average person, that may not seem like a big deal, but it is. In fact, in order to achieve the EPA’s standard by the August 3, 2024 deadline, Arizona would need to cut emissions by 50 percent. This is not only impossible, it’s absurd. It took our state over 23 years to reduce ozone pollution by 12.5 percent. There’s absolutely no way we could cut it by 50 percent in a year! But since the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) has become another puppet for the Left’s climate agenda, its plan fell right in line with its EPA masters.

Stopping MAG’s Green New Deal Plan

Along with a host of regulations on various business activities, MAG’s Green New Deal Implementation plan was filled with restrictions that would make AOC blush. It included:

    • Eliminating gas-powered cars.
    • Eliminating gas appliances.
    • Limits on things like lawn equipment, motorized boating, and water heaters.
    • Regulations on the commercial trucking industry that we rely on for supplies and goods.

Arizona could implement every one of these destructive measures, and we still wouldn’t come close to achieving the EPA’s ozone standard—especially by that deadline. In the meantime, our state would have been forced to suffer billions of dollars in economic damage all while watching our quality of life go down the tubes.

That’s why the Free Enterprise Club spent several months fighting back against MAG’s plan. And that proved to be a success. In June of this year, MAG abandoned its plan and instead sent a letter to the EPA that essentially adopted our position. It mentioned the challenges related to timing, the overwhelming contribution of ozone from outside sources, and the economic consequences we would face with such harsh ozone regulations. These are reasonable arguments that should be enough for the EPA to reconsider its standards, but the response from the Left was…a lawsuit.

The Sierra Club Sues to Force Arizona to Achieve the Impossible

In October, the liberal non-profit Sierra Club decided to sue the Biden administration to increase regulatory oversight of several states, including Arizona. And their goal is clear. They either want to get a liberal judge to force our state to implement California-style control measures, or they want to collude with the EPA to do a “sue and settle” and enter into a consent decree that does the same.

But what the Sierra Club intentionally ignores is that you could take all 4 million cars off the road in Maricopa County, and Arizona still couldn’t achieve the EPA’s impossible standards. Just look at what happened in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ozone levels increased from 79ppb to 87ppb even though we saw a dramatic decrease in cars on our roads.

You would think that would be enough to recognize that these measures won’t work. Or maybe, just maybe…the Sierra Club’s agenda isn’t really about ozone in the first place. That’s why the Club plans to fight back against this lawsuit and any other way that the Sierra Club is trying to force the Green New Deal on our state. The measures they are pushing are coercive, punitive, and likely illegal. And the people of Arizona shouldn’t have to sacrifice their freedoms so the Left can turn us into another California.

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