- Associated Press - Saturday, December 31, 2016

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Tougher federal standards for ozone pollution in 2017 could knock Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan shoreline counties out of compliance.

But just how those regulations by President Barack Obama’s administration play out remains to be seen. The election of Republican Donald Trump could affect how the regulations are implemented because of the president-elect’s pledge to eliminate federal regulations that are costly to business.

The Environmental Protection Agency tightened the standard from 75 parts per billion to 70 parts per billion effective in October 2017, citing hundreds of studies that show a link between higher ozone levels and respiratory disease.

Environmental and health groups pushed for an even stricter standard. The EPA calculated the health savings a decade from now at $2.9 billion to $5.9 billion a year.

“Health care benefits of these regulations will outweigh any marginal increase in costs,” said Tyson Cook, director of science and research for Clean Wisconsin, an environmental group.

Asthma affects about 500,000 Wisconsin residents, according to the state’s Department of Health Services.

the latest ozone report by the Department of Natural Resources shows some air monitors in Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Sheboygan, Kenosha, Manitowoc, Door and Walworth counties had three-year-average readings exceeding the new standard, the Journal Sentinel reported (https://bit.ly/2hrOPBN ).

The tougher federal standards could cause utilities to burn less coal and install scrubbers that limit air pollution. Manufacturers might also need to add more pollution controls, or pay other companies for pollution credits earned from shutting down or reducing emissions.

“It might be more cost effective to shut down … and move those jobs to another part of the country,” said Lucas Vebber, director of environmental and energy policy for Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce.

In April, Wisconsin joined several other states challenging the stricter regulations. Walker said the regulations would penalize Lake Michigan counties and manufacturers that have pollution that sweeps up the coastline from other states.

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