WASHINGTON – On Wednesday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved legislation that would delay the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 2015 ozone standard from being implemented. The legislation passed by a party-line vote of 30-23.
H.R. 4775, “The Ozone Standards Implementation Act,” would extend state deadlines to submit their implementation plans for the new ozone standard until 2026. It also extends the statutory review cycle for all of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards from five years to 10 years and tells EPA’s Clean Air Science Advisory Committee to provide advice to EPA on the “adverse” effects on the economy and welfare new standards. Supporters of the legislation had urged EPA to delay this rulemaking until the earlier ozone standard had been fully implemented by the states.
NACS supports H.R. 4775 and signed on to an industry letter to congressional leadership, which urged Congress to move H.R. 4775 through the legislative process. Legislation is needed to bring common sense to the regulatory process by streamlining implementation efforts, which is why NACS backs H.R. 4775 to resolve this issue. Specifically, the bill recognizes ongoing state efforts to improve air quality through a reasonable implementation schedule for the 2015 ozone standards, streamlines the air permitting process for businesses to expand operations and create jobs, and includes other reforms that bring more regulatory certainty to federal air quality standards.
The next step in the process is for House leadership to schedule a floor vote, which could take place sometime this summer. Meanwhile, NACS will continue to work with legislators and stakeholders to ensure that the need to improve air quality is balanced with the need to improve the economy and grow jobs.