Congressman Kevin McCarthy

Representing the 23rd District of CALIFORNIA
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Fact Sheet: The Commonsense Ozone Regulation Act

Apr 19, 2011
Press Release

The Problem:

Residents In The Central Valley Are Being Forced To Meet A Revoked Air Quality Standard.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revoked the 1-Hour Ozone Standard in 2005 and replaced it with the current 8-Hour Ozone Standard, but Federal Courts subsequently reinstated parts of the 1-hour standard. Now, the Central Valley is paying a $29 million fine for noncompliance with the 1-hour standard, while still struggling to comply with the current 8-hour standard. Further, this fine that has the potential to skyrocket in the future.

EPA Is Preparing To Implement A New, Tighter 8-Hour Standard That Would Result In Banning Fossil Fuel Combustion And A De Facto Ban On New Businesses. According to local air pollution control officials, the proposed new 8-Hour Ozone Standard at 60-70 parts per billion (PPB) would be nearly impossible to meet and could result in the banning of cars, trucks, and other fossil fuel combustion, as well as new businesses in the Valley. Without action, EPA could implement this standard this summer.

One-Size-Fits-All Washington Regulations Ignore The Uniqueness Of The Central Valley.  Neither the 1-Hour Ozone Standard or the proposed new 8-Hour Ozone Standard take into account the Central Valley's topography, weather, natural ozone background levels, foreign sources of pollution and traffic passing through the region, which create an environment ripe for ozone formation. Central Valley residents have no control over these things, but are being held to account for them by EPA.

The Solution:

This legislation takes a commonsense two-fold approach to protect the Central Valley economy and continue to clean up the air. Specifically, the legislation:

Repeals The 1-Hour Standard And The $29 Million Fine Associated With It. This is just common-sense. The Valley should not be forced to pay for an air quality standard that has been revoked by EPA. 

Postpones Implementation Of The New 8-Hour Standard For 5.5 Years. The legislation creates a Local Advisory Committee to study the feasibility of complying with new, tighter EPA ozone standards. The committee will be composed of a representative of the local agriculture industry, air pollution control board, energy industry, health care industry, manufacturing and processing industry and transportation industry, as well as local governments and environmental justice. The committee has five years to study and report findings to Congress. Congress then has six months to review and act.

Maintains The Valley's Commitment To Clean Air. During the five and a half years allotted for the Local Advisory Committee to study compliance feasibility and Congress to review and act on the findings, EPA would be prohibited from implementing new standards in the Valley. However, the Central Valley will continue to be subject to the current 8-Hour Ozone Standard.