"As you tighten the standards, the incremental costs [of meeting them] increases very rapidly," Norman explained. "The reason is that it requires technologies that haven't even been developed yet. There's an assumption that they are somehow going to appear. And I'm sure there is room technologically for improvement, but I don't know if you can just assume everything."
On climate change, Norman said MAPI's members are concerned by the continued policy uncertainty in Washington, but it has no position on the EPA's moves to rein in climate-altering carbon dioxide. The , a lobby group, the agency's CO2 "agenda" "deeply troubling."
Greenhouse Gas Rules
Indeed, drawing the most fire over the Clean Air Act are the EPA's plans to apply the law to greenhouse gases.
In spring 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in that the law's authority could extend to CO2. In December 2009, the agency finalized its endangerment finding, declaring greenhouse gases a threat to human health and welfare, and began considering how to develop rules to use the Clean Air Act to regulate them.
On January 2, 2011, the EPA "tailoring rule" will require over 30 industrial sectors, covering 85 percent of the economy, to begin reporting their emissions for the first time.
Bipartisan proposals have been introduced in both chambers of Congress to block or delay the EPA's action on CO2. A handful of lawsuits have been filed by oil and coal industry groups, several states and others.
The small businesses behind this week's report—which would be shielded from the tailoring rule requirements—are warning against delay.
"This has negative implications for many businesses, large and small, that have enacted new practices to reduce their carbon footprint as part of their new business models," the review said.
To coincide with the study, the Mainstreet Alliance, a national network of small-business groups, delivered a to Washington lawmakers signed by 498 small businesses in 30 states, urging them "to stand with small businesses and our communities, not big polluters, and support EPA's move to regulate greenhouse gas emissions."
The businesses run the gamut of sectors, including retail, law, dining and tourism.
Jason Collette, field coordinator for the New Hampshire-based Mainstreet Alliance, told SolveClimate News that this is the first time his group has ventured into Clean Air Act advocacy.
With health care put to bed, he said, they wanted tackle an issue that would address the nation's nagging unemployment woes.
"A lot of our membership feels passionately about this [and] feels that this is an opportunity for some of their community folks to get back to work," he said.