BR leaders fear EPA plans could hurt economy
BATON ROUGE - The Environmental Protection Agency wants to change air quality standards, but Baton Rouge city leaders fear the changes could cost Louisiana billions.
Councilman Buddy Amoroso feels tougher air quality standards would cripple the state's economy.
"You know to me I think it would kill our economy, and I'm vehemently opposed to lowering the standards," he said. "You could start seeing layoffs. You could start seeing the expansion a company was supposed to have, not have that expansion. I mean it could have a very radical influence on the people at home."
Currently the federal standard for ozone emissions is at 75 parts per billion, but that could get lowered to between 60 and 70 parts per billion. Simply put, the new standard would make it harder for parishes to meet. That could cost Louisiana around 117,000 jobs, according to Iain Vasey of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber.
"Most directly it could mean billions of dollars in investment it could cost us," said Vasey. "It could me thousands of jobs, but it also means that industries are going to have to spend a lot more money on retrofitting plants and concerning where they relocate to or where they expand."
The Baton Rouge Metro Council will discuss the issue its council meeting Wednesday. Right now the EPA is holding a 45 day open comment period.
The Louisiana Bucket Brigade, an environmental health organization, says it supports tougher standards that would make people healthier. As for the claims that jobs would be lost, the organization says it's an old argument that has not proven true over time.