House GOP Pushes Legislation To Delay EPA Ozone Standards

Date: May 24, 2016

Measure Would Delay States’ Plans For Ozone Standards Implementation Until 2026

The EPA has a tradition of aggressive over-regulation that has been harmful to businesses large and small. Some members of Congress are now acting to push back against the EPA by delaying its ozone standards. Greenwire reports that the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved a measure – H.R. 4775 – that “would delay full adoption of EPA’s ground-level ozone standard of 70 parts per billion by eight years,” meaning individual state’s plans for implementation would not be due until 2026. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX), passed in committee with a 30-23 vote, with Olsen stating that the having to meet two EPA standards simultaneously is “not fair to industry, it’s not fair to clean air.” The Committee also approved “an Olson amendment to allow industries classified as minor air pollution sources to seek preconstruction permits under the previous 75 ppb standard.” Fuel Fix (TX) reports that House Republicans are pushing legislation that would force the EPA to wait until 2025 to “designate which parts of the country are in violation of the administration new standard.” The bill would also “force the EPA to consider economic factors in its decision making.” Democrats arguing against the bill warned that it would “endanger public health and raise health care costs.” The Hill reports that Democrats argued that the proposed legislation “would effectively gut the Clean Air Act,” in particular the provision that would force the EPA to consider costs alongside health and environmental protections. However, bill sponsor Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio) countered, “No one opposes clear air and clean water.” Rather, he explained, “This legislation provides states more time to implement the new standard, which was key for ensuring that we do not stifle the incredible investments made in the energy, manufacturing and chemical sectors.”

What This Means For Small Businesses

The EPA’s aggressive regulations on a number of issues, including the ozone standards, has led to economic uncertainty. The Daily Caller reports that the former chairman of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Kathleen White, recently called the EPA’s “ozone bureaucracy is ‘a huge problem that is choking our economy.’” White said that the problem with the EPA process is that it “keeps changing ozone standards so rapidly that states don’t have a chance to implement them before they change to a new standard.” Small businesses lack the means to keep adjusting to new standards and, like states, have suffered from a lack of ability to fully plan for the future due to the uncertain regulatory environment.

Additional Reading

The Washington Examiner also reports on efforts to delay the EPA ozone standards.

Note: this article is intended to keep small business owners up on the latest news. It does not necessarily represent the policy stances of NFIB.

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