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As EPA Preps Onerous Ozone Standards, Committee Members Press for Full Accounting

Nov 13, 2014
House to Vote Next Week on Scalise Bill to Increase Transparency, Require Timely Guidance on New Standards

WASHINGTON, DC – Republican members of the Subcommittee on Energy and Power today wrote to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy regarding the agency’s imminent plans to propose revisions to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone and the estimated costs. Many areas of the country have still not attained the current standard established in 2008, and independent analyses suggest EPA’s coming ozone changes could amount to the most expensive rule ever imposed by the agency. In an effort to promote transparency, committee members are pressing EPA to provide a full accounting of the costs when it announces the new proposed rule, urging the agency to include the underlying costs associated with meeting the existing standard.

The members wrote to EPA, "As the deadline approaches for EPA to propose this new rule, we write to request that the agency provide, in the information it supplies the public concerning this proposal, the significant and as yet unrealized costs of meeting the existing eight-hour 75 parts per billion (ppb) ozone standard, which was finalized in 2008.  … Given that the agency decided to delay implementing the 2008 standards for a number of years, it is not evident how much, if any, of the costs included in EPA’s estimate for compliance with the current standard have been realized.  … In light of this situation, EPA’s economic analysis should not assume the existing rule has been met and report only the incremental costs of the proposed new rule. While some may find it convenient to focus only on the costs of meeting the new proposal, the American people will surely feel the costs of meeting both the new and existing standards."

The committee leaders continued, "Given the enormous costs and implications of this rulemaking for our nation’s future economic growth, EPA has an obligation to provide the public with a full accounting of the costs of meeting the proposed standard, including the as yet unrealized cost of the controls needed to meet the existing ozone standard.  For purposes of complete transparency, the analysis for both the existing and new ozone standard should fully and clearly report the costs with and without any potential emission reductions and costs associated with other EPA regulations, including EPA’s proposed Carbon Pollution Standards for new and existing electric generating units and any mobile source NOx reductions that may result from the corporate average fuel economy standards for Model Year 2022 to 2025 that are dependent on the outcome of the midterm review."

As part of the committee’s effort to increase transparency and hold EPA accountable, the House will also vote next week on a bill authored by Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) requiring EPA to issue timely guidance for permit applicants that will be required to comply with the new air quality standards.

The letter was signed by the following Republican members of the Energy and Power Subcommittee:

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI)
Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY)
Chairman Emeritus Joe Barton (R-TX)
Rep. John Shimkus (IL)
Rep. Lee Terry (NE)
Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (TX)
Rep. Pete Olson (TX)
Rep. Bob Latta (OH)
Rep. Bill Cassidy (LA)
Rep. David McKinley (WV)
Rep. Mike Pompeo (KS)
Rep. Morgan Griffith (VA)

To read the full text of the letter, click HERE.

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