Whitfield Examines Bipartisan Ozone Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. – (RealEstateRama) — U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield (KY-01), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power, held a hearing entitled, “H.R. 4775, Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2016.” Members examined the EPA’s revisions to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone, the practical challenges states currently face in implementing multiple ozone standards, and other challenges associated with implementing the NAAQS program. The subcommittee reviewed H.R. 4775, the Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2016, a commonsense bill aimed at providing states the flexibility needed to implement the standards on an efficient and realistic timeline.

Chairman Whitfield stated, “The recent ozone standards will impose substantial compliance burdens on state and local governments while also jeopardizing economic growth and jobs. EPA itself concedes ozone levels are declining and will continue to fall even in the absence of new standards. H.R. 4775 offers a commonsense path forward. This practical bill simply ensures that air quality continues to improve while avoiding unnecessary harm to state and local governments and job-creating businesse

Miseal Cabrera, Director of the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, voiced his concern with the achievability of the new standard, testifying, “As the lead state challenging the 2015 ozone standard in the courts, Arizona does not support 70 parts per billion (ppb) as the appropriate ozone standard. We believe that the new standard is simply not achievable in many area of our state.”

Alan Matheson, Executive Director of the Utah Department of Environmental Control, noted how long it took EPA to publish the implementation regulations for the 2008 standards, saying, “EPA has been unable to provide states with timely and necessary implementation guidance under the current 5-year NAAQS review cycle. The implementation rule for the 2008 Ozone NAAQS was published in March, 2015, only 7 months before the ozone standard was lowered to 70 ppb in October.”

Mr. Seyed Sadredin, Executive Director/Air Pollution Control Officer at the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, voiced his support for H.R. 4775, stating, “I am here today to express my gratitude to your committee for taking thoughtful and reasonable action to enact common sense changes to the Clean Air Act. As a public health official and on behalf of all elected officials serving on the Governing Board of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, I urge strong and bipartisan support for H.R. 4775…”

Dr. Bryan W. Shaw, Chairman of the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality, echoed support for the bill, saying, “The legislation will allow states to focus their limited resources on fully implementing the 2008 standard, as well as the cascade of other new expensive regulations coming out of the EPA.”

For more information on today’s hearing including an archived webcast, witness testimonies, and background memo, click HERE.

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