Bipartisan Bill Introduced to Allow Cost Effective and Practical Implementation of Ozone Standards
WASHINGTON, DC – Building on the committee’s ongoing work examining the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) revisions to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ground-level ozone, Energy and Power Subcommittee Vice Chairman Pete Olson (R-TX), committee member Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX), House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), House Majority Whip and committee member Steve Scalise (R-LA), committee member Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH), and Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) today introduced H.R. 4775, the Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2016.
States and communities across the country have only just begun to implement the 2008 ozone standards for which EPA did not publish implementing regulations until March 2015. In October of 2015, EPA revised the 2008 standards and imposed additional new planning and compliance obligations on states. The Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2016 seeks to provide states more time and flexibility to implement the standards on an efficient and realistic timeline, and to address other technical implementation issues facing states under the National Ambient Air Quality Standards Program.
The bill’s chief sponsor, Rep. Pete Olson stated, “I’ve worked for years to develop legislation that achieves a proper balance between improving air quality and maintaining a strong economy. Communities should not have to choose between clean air and jobs. I’m pleased that Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton and Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield have thrown their support behind this critical effort and look forward to moving this bill through our committee and to the House floor.”
Rep. Bill Flores added, “American jobs, manufacturing and economic growth are suffering because the EPA moved the goal posts with ozone standards. Our states and communities are already dealing with an onslaught of federal regulations and now have to worry about the EPA’s conflicting implementation of both the 2008 and 2015 ozone standards. The Ozone Standards Implementation Act will provide much needed relief from this regulatory disaster by harmonizing the EPA’s ozone regulations.”
“Radical EPA mandates are holding back our economy and the most recent round will make it even harder for small businesses to grow and hard-working families to make ends meet. If allowed to proceed, these new rules will ultimately eliminate tens of thousands of jobs and impose billions of dollars of compliance costs that will be passed along to consumers. That is why the Ozone Standards Implementation Act is so important. This bill brings critical transparency and accountability to an agency that lacks both. House Republicans will not stand by while unelected bureaucrats wage war on American jobs,” said House Majority Whip Steve Scalise.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy added, “When the Administration’s air regulations result in even Yosemite Park struggling to reach compliance, it is time to step back and survey the common sense of this regulation. In California’s Central Valley and other communities across America, significant advances have led to cleaner air. But the Obama Administration’s regulation will saddle our communities with punitive fines for failing to meet a near-impossible task of complying with a standard so unrealistic it is approaching naturally occurring background ozone levels. The EPA knows that technology to achieve this new standard in California does not exist. Cleaning up the air we breathe and economic development are not mutually exclusive. Unfortunately, the new EPA standard doesn’t consider this and creates a Catch-22. This bill makes the right reforms, without sacrificing air quality that will help our communities be healthy and thrive.”
“The EPA must take into consideration both the technical feasibility of implementing these new rules, as well as the profound economic strain that will be inflicted on states across the country that are just now beginning to implement the 2008 NAAQS standards,” said Rep. Latta. “As it stands, the timeline for compliance the EPA has levied on states will impose all kinds of new controls and restrictions on the economy, impose burdensome costs on small businesses, and stifle investments in transportation infrastructure. The EPA must allow more time and flexibility for states to implement these standards, and this legislation ensures that will happen.”
Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY) concluded, “Manufacturers, small businesses, and job creation are at risk because of these regulations. Ozone levels have declined more than 30 percent since 1980 and will continue to trend downward under existing regulations. Asking states to simultaneously implement two ozone standards presents significant challenges for states. We need to ensure states have time to achieve the requirements under EPA’s rules and that’s what this commonsense bill does.”