WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Environment, chaired by Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), today held a hearing examining legislation that gives states the flexibility need to implement the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone on an efficient and realistic timeline.
In October of 2015, while states and communities were just beginning to implement the 2008 standards following long-overdue EPA guidance, EPA revised those standards and imposed additional new planning and compliance obligations on states. H.R. 806, Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2017, introduced by Subcommittee on Energy Vice Chairman Pete Olson (R-TX), builds on the committee’s work last year to enact targeted, commonsense reforms to provide states relief from simultaneously implementing plans for two ozone standards. H.R. 806 updates the Clean Air Act to provide state and local authorities the time and guidance necessary so they can more effectively implement ozone and other air quality standards going forward.
Witnesses deliver testimony during today’s #SubEnvironment hearing
Sean Alteri, Director of Air Quality at the Kentucky Department of Environmental Protection, declared his support for H.R. 806, stating, “The reasonable amendments proposed in H.R. 806 will further enable all of our states to continue to grow our economy, enhance our quality of life, and improve air quality.”
Marc A. R. Cone, P.E., Director at the Bureau of Air Quality at the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, discussed the importance of additional time for air-quality standard setting and implementation, commenting, “The changes included in this bill would allow the EPA more time for strategies to be more thoughtfully developed, would help provide greater certainty within a more realistic timeframe for implementation of a new standard, and would allow for assessment of the effectiveness of control measures that have been put in place.”
In his questioning with Seyed Sadredin, Executive Director and Air Pollution Control Officer at the San Joaquin Air Pollution Control District, Chairman Shimkus asked whether or not there was anything in H.R. 806 that would make his job more difficult in implementing air quality standards. Mr. Sadredin said, “There is nothing in this bill that would roll back even a single measure that we have already put in place or will hold back anything we have to do or are planning to do moving forward to meet the current standards.
Nancy Vehr, Air Quality Administrator at the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, discussed why EPA’s one-size-fits-all approach to regulating simply doesn’t work, commenting, “Wyoming’s characteristics as an expansive, high-elevation, sparsely populated rural state differs from EPA’s traditional focus. As a result, we face unique challenges in implementing the EPA’s Ozone Standards in Wyoming. … Wyoming’s experience highlights why a one-size-fits-all approach to Ozone is not defensible. One-size-fits-all does not fit Wyoming.”
Chairman Shimkus delivers his opening statement
“The Ozone Standards Implementation Act makes practical reforms to the Clean Air Act to streamline implementation of national air quality standards by state and local authorities,” concluded Chairman Shimkus. “These reforms seek to improve the states’ ability to meet the new ozone and other air-quality standards without undermining efforts to ensure and promote the productive capacity of their citizens.”
A background memo, witness testimony, and an archived webcast of the hearing can be found online HERE.