Legislation Would Give States Time to Reach EPA Attainment
March 30, 2015
Legislation was introduced in Congress by Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Rep. Pete Olson (R-Texas), Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio), Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), and Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.). This bill, the Clean Air, Strong Economies (CASE) Act would improve the rulemaking process involved with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) review and setting of National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ground level ozone by requiring better scientific data, more transparency and considerations of feasibility and economic impact.
Specifically, the CASE Act would do the following:
- Require the EPA to consider the feasibility and economic impacts of any standard, while still keeping its focus on protecting human health.
- Prevent the EPA from updating the current ozone NAAQS (2008) until at least 85% of any counties in “nonattainment,” or not in compliance with the current standard, achieve such compliance.
- Mandate the EPA use only direct air quality monitoring in designating any counties as being in “nonattainment” with the ozone NAAQS.
- Obligate the EPA to incorporate into its regulatory impact analysis at least one cost benefit analysis that includes benefits based solely upon the reduction of ozone.
The EPA is in the process of considering a regulation which would impose a new, stricter ozone standard. It has proposed in November 2014 to tighten the ozone standard to between 65 and 70 parts per billion (ppb). Comments on the proposal were due by March 17. “Nonattainment” designations under EPA’s proposed ozone rule could be devastating for economic and business development in an area because they lead to permitting delays, restrictions on expansion, and increased costs to industry, including metalcasting facilities. The EPA is expected to issue a final rule by the fall of 2015.