The EPA’s Assault on Sheboygan County

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the American Legislative Exchange Council.

In July, the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) Center for Competitive Federalism released a powerful policy brief and short documentary video that exposed the EPA’s assault on Sheboygan County, which lies along the western shores of Lake Michigan, north of Milwaukee. WILL presented at the ALEC Federalism Subcommittee and Task Force meetings at the ALEC Annual Meeting in Denver last month.

On September 28, 2016, the EPA proposed a rule that raises Sheboygan County’s nonattainment designation from “marginal” to “moderate.” The proposed reclassification rule received significant resistance from state and federal lawmakers, the business community that will be directly affected by the proposed rule and even the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

The policy brief, Wisconsin’s No Growth Zone: The Impact of the Clean Air Act on Sheboygan County, specifically sheds light on the ozone nonattainment designation involving Sheboygan County, the impact of such a designation on businesses in the County, the potential re-designation of other counties along the shores of Lake Michigan and concludes by offering several immediate steps Congress can take to alleviate the onerous requirements by providing flexibility to Wisconsin to meet ozone standards.

Far too often, the main impediment to economic growth and expansion is government regulations, especially from the federal government. No regulation has been more nonsensical than the EPA’s application of the Clean Air Act’s ambient air quality standards on Sheboygan County. Congress can, and should, act now to provide much needed flexibility to state and local units of government. Without such action, Sheboygan County (and others) will remain No Grow Zones.

The report and video have received significant coverage. A WILL op-ed was featured in the state’s flagship publication, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The Sheboygan Press and Right Wisconsin both attended the roll out event and provided detailed local coverage.

U.S. Representative Glenn Grothman, who represents Wisconsin’s Sixth Congressional District, also published an op-ed, specifically citing the WILL report while also highlighting a joint letter he wrote to the EPA with Wisconsin’s U.S. Senator Ron Johnson. Rep. Grothman similarly highlighted WILL’s work when noting passage of H.R. 806, which delays the implementation of the EPA’s ozone standards in the Clean Air Act until 2025. WILL’s efforts were also specifically highlighted by state lawmakers, including Rep. Jesse Kremer. WILL plans to present the report and video to state lawmakers at the Wisconsin Capitol on September 13.

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