For Immediate Release
Contact: Michael Vannozzi, TSC2 Group
Denver (June 14, 2016) – The Western Regional Alliance (WRA) issued a statement after the Obama Administration threatened to veto H.R. 4775, the Ozone Standards Implementation Act. The bipartisan bill has 43 cosponsors, and is currently making its way through Congress with the support of major business groups and local governments from all over the country. The bill delays the implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Ozone Rule and provides for other technical changes to the regulation.
“The Western Regional Alliance calls on the Obama Administration to reconsider their veto threat of H.R. 4775,” said Tom R. Skancke, Executive Director of the WRA. “The Administration’s Ozone Rule, while well intentioned, will have a disproportionately negative effect on the development of western metropolitan areas. We understand, appreciate, and support the aims of the NAAQS, but we believe that the federal government must forge a path forward for western economies to responsibly manage their growth.”
On October 1, 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized the new primary National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for Ozone at 70 parts per billion (ppb), which is more stringent than the current 2008 Ozone NAAQS of 75 ppb. According to data from the EPA, 241 counties, many of which are in the most populous regions of the Northeastern, Mid-Atlantic, Upper Midwestern, and Western United States, would currently not attain the new standard.
While all growing metropolitan economies will be challenged to meet this new standard, many Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic counties are given special consideration because they are considered downwind from other ozone emitting counties. Meanwhile, large western metropolitan economies, including Phoenix, Denver, Las Vegas, Reno, and Salt Lake City, and even many western National Parks would fall into non-attainment if the rule, as written, is preserved.
Western counties and jurisdictions that do not attain the Ozone Rule’s strict standards can suffer harsh penalties, including the suspension of federally supported highway and transportation projects, the imposition of EPA overriding authority on project permitting decisions, and restrictions on new development and redevelopment
The Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2016 (H.R. 4775) delays the implementation of the ozone NAAQS, changes the timeframe of the review cycle for criteria pollutants, and directs the EPA to obtain advice from its scientific advisory committee regarding potential adverse public health, welfare, social, economic, or energy effects which may result from attaining and maintaining the revised NAAQS. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX), and has the support of 43 members of congress from both sides of the aisle.