Olson, Latta, Kirkpatrick, Cuellar Introduce Ozone Bill
Reps. Pete Olson (R-TX), Bob Latta (R-OH), Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ), and Henry Cuellar (D-TX), today introduced bipartisan legislation that would update how the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) addresses ozone requirements in the Clean Air Act. EPA recently issued a new standard requiring a reduction in the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for ozone, from the current level of 75 parts per billion (PPB) down to 70 PPB.
This bill is intended to be the first in a series of legislative efforts on ozone, with upcoming legislation to focus on how local air authorities make the leap from an existing standard to a new one. In this first step in the wake of EPA’s new standard, Olson and his colleagues introduced H.R. 4265, the Clean Air Implementation Act, which would require a brief pause while EPA studies the impacts of foreign pollution on non-attainment areas, review the current standard every eight years (to allow more time for implementation) instead of every five, and allow for limited consideration of feasibility when EPA moves to draft the next ozone rule.
"As communities across America try to navigate an ever changing standard process, we must have better information on how foreign sources of pollution impact our air quality,” Rep. Pete Olson said. “Understanding how much ozone is under our control is a critical component of how states develop plans to improve air quality. Our bill provides a needed pause in implementing the current standard while we streamline the process with needed information.”
“The EPA, when releasing new standards, must ensure that they are achievable, and do not cause significant harm to our economy,” said Rep. Bob Latta. “As we work to gain a full understanding of the impact of foreign pollution in areas of the country that go out of attainment, it is imperative we postpone the implementation of these standards to avoid unnecessary and burdensome costs on communities working towards compliance until further review is conducted.”
“I represent several Arizona communities where energy production drives the local economy, so I want to ensure there is local input on the impact of these federal rules. We cannot allow these rules to be administered in a way that kills jobs and undermines local economies,” Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick said. "I’m pleased to cosponsor this bill with support from communities in Arizona as well as our state Department of Air Quality."
“Businesses and economic growth provide opportunities for the families I represent,” Congressman Henry Cuellar said. “I know the negative impact that rapidly implementing the EPA’s new ozone standard could have on economic development in my district. We need to find a way to balance the need for environmental protection with the feasibility of implementing these standards in an economically viable way.”
Highlights of Clean Air Implementation Act:
o Timeline Revision - EPA shall update the Ambient Air Quality Standards at eight year intervals unless the Administrator finds that specific circumstances warrant a review earlier in the cycle.
o Secondary Consideration of Feasibility – EPA can use as a factor in determining the range of levels for a new NAAQS feasibility when setting a new standard.
o Foreign Transport – EPA in coordination with the National Academies of Sciences shall report to Congress within two years, the extent to which foreign sources of pollution impact achievement of NAAQS standards in the US. The 2015 standard will be paused until the study is complete.