Congressman McCarthy Introduces Bill to Reform Ozone Regulation
Washington, DC – Congressman Kevin McCarthy released the following statement upon the introduction of the Ozone Standards Implementation Act (H.R. 4775) that he is an original cosponsor of:
“When the Administration’s air regulations result in even Yosemite Park struggling to reach compliance, it is time to step back and survey the common sense of this regulation. In California’s Central Valley and other communities across America, significant advances have led to cleaner air. But the Obama Administration’s regulation will saddle our communities with punitive fines for failing to meet a near-impossible task of complying with a standard so unrealistic it is approaching naturally occurring background ozone levels. The EPA knows that technology to achieve this new standard in California does not exist. Cleaning up the air we breathe and economic development are not mutually exclusive. Unfortunately, the new EPA standard doesn’t consider this and creates a Catch-22. This bill makes the right reforms, without sacrificing air quality that will help our communities be healthy and thrive.”
Today, legislation cosponsored by Congressman McCarthy regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2015 ozone standard was introduced in the House.
The new National Ambient Air Quality Standard for ozone is approaching naturally occurring background levels, which will be next to impossible for many areas in the United States, including California’s Central Valley, to attain in the timeframe that EPA has a laid out. Even Yosemite Park will likely not be in compliance with the new ozone standard.
The new ozone standard adds to the patchwork of existing and overlapping EPA standards, State Implementation Plans, myriad implementing regulations, and voluminous paperwork requirements that make running, opening or expanding a business in the Central Valley extremely difficult. However, the Central Valley is hard at work cleaning up the air.
According to the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District’s (APCD) 2015-2016 Community Report, good air quality days have increased and unhealthy days have significantly decreased over the past 13 years in the San Joaquin Valley air basin. The Central Valley has also seen a substantial decrease in days when ozone is over the both the 2008 and 1997 EPA standards. And, last year, the APCD petitioned EPA to be re-designated in attainment with the 1-hour ozone standard – a testament to the Valley’s commitment to clean air.
Our community has made it clear that clean air and economic development are not mutually exclusive.
H.R. 4775 makes the right reforms to the new ozone standard to ensure the Central Valley and other communities can focus on meeting the existing standards while not crushing us with a new requirement, that is likely impossible to meet, which will result in punitive fines. The bill also prevents the EPA from simply issuing new standards without the required guidelines to help states and communities achieve compliance.
In addition, H.R. 4775 includes specific provisions to help the Central Valley by exempting drought and associated meteorological events from certain requirements. The bill also requires that technological achievability and economic feasibility be taken into account when working toward compliance of the standard. Finally, the legislative proposal requires EPA to account for foreign-sourced pollution, like the emissions in California that originate in China.