Congress is set to take up H.R. 4775, the Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2015. This bill provides much needed relief from a burdensome regulation. The American Energy Alliance urges all Members vote YES on H.R. 4775.
The Environmental Protection Agency finalized new National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ground level ozone in 2015. This regulation is slated to be one of the most expensive in history, affecting nearly all aspects of the economy. NERA Economic Consulting estimated that a 65 ppb standard would cost more than $1 trillion. Ultimately, the EPA set the new level at 70 ppb and estimated an annual cost of between $1.4 billion and $3.9 billion per year, per the regulatory impact analyses for the final and proposed rule.
The potential benefits of this regulation are far outweighed by the outrageous costs. The EPA already stated that ozone levels have dramatically declined. National levels fell 18 percent since 2000 and fell 33 percent from 1980 to 2014. Further, much of the United States is still implementing the prior ozone regulation.
Sponsored by Reps. Olson, Flores, Scalise, Latta, McCarthy, and Cuellar, H.R. 4775 would offer crucial relief to American communities. First, the bill extends implementation deadlines for the 2015 ozone standards until 2025, giving states more time to work with stakeholders to reach attainment. States need this extra time to even come close to meeting this heavy regulatory burden.
Second, the legislation amends the Clean Air Act by altering the timeline for review of air pollutants under NAAQS from five to 10 years. Requiring a review of all air pollutants every five years is a complete waste of resources — the time period is just too short. Ten years is much more reasonable and allows sufficient opportunity for oversight while still promoting clean air.
The bill further amends the Clean Air Act by directing the EPA Administrator to consider technological feasibility when reviewing and revising NAAQS. This provides a key check on the process, helping to prevent arbitrary rulemaking that cannot possibly be met.
Overall, H.R. 4775 takes a step in the right direction. The legislation improves flexibility, enacts much needed reforms, and helps states in their efforts, all while still working to promote clean air. The American Energy Alliance urges all Representative to vote YES on H.R. 4775.