New Report: State Regulators Push Back on EPA’s Proposed Ozone Rules06/11/2015
Washington D.C., – Karen Kerrigan, President of the Center for Regulatory Solutions (CRS), a project of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, highlighted a new report released today by the Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies (AAPCA) that surveyed states views of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed revision to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone. In November 2014, the EPA proposed new regulations to tighten the standards for ozone by up to 20 percent by October 1, 2015. As CRS has reported, state regulators have become more vocal in expressing significant concerns about EPA’s proposal.
“The numerous concerns raised by state regulators in this report regarding EPA’s proposed ozone standard shows once again that the Obama administration needs to listen more closely to state and local officials before tightening the standard,” said Karen Kerrigan, President of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council. “It is because of collaboration at the state level that we have made such tremendous progress over the past thirty years cleaning up our air. Small business is a proud partner in this effort. But when Washington steps in and takes drastic action that undercuts these efforts, it only undermines the goodwill and continued progress we have made. Hopefully, the Obama administration will take a good look at this report and see that the government may in fact be hurting, not helping, to achieve clean air progress by imposing a tighter ozone standard.”
For the past three decades, states have worked extremely hard to cut their ozone levels with great success. The low-hanging fruit has already been picked, so any further reductions will be extremely challenging to meet. Indeed, in some localities, especially in the western United States, the new standards are approaching background levels of ozone – in other words, the level that occurs due to factors beyond local control.
According to the AAPCA report, a majority of states have raised concerns about their ability to meet the new standards, due in large part to background levels of ozone. While EPA claims that their “exceptional events exclusion” is responsive to this concern, many states believe that EPA’s tools to address these concerns are limited and inadequate. These concerns are spread throughout the U.S. and are not limited to a specific geographic region.
A sample of state’s concerns are below:
- Ohio: Ohio EPA does not agree that the new ozone standard should be mostly comprised of background ozone itself. As a new standard becomes closer to background levels, states have the ability to develop practical control strategies to meet the standard.
- West Virginia: NAAQS should not be set at background levels at which there are no realistic compliance options.
- Florida: EPA should consider whether natural background concentrations would preclude compliance with EPA’s proposed standards… For example, EPA estimates that 70 to 80 percent of the seasonal mean ozone levels in Florida are attributed to background contributions.
Regarding EPA’s “exceptional events exclusion”:
- Texas: It may be useful in rare instances, but demonstrating even a single instance is extremely burdensome.
- Georgia: GEPD strongly urges EPA to provide additional clarification and guidance for submittal of exceptional event documentation.
Regarding International Transport of Ozone:
- North Dakota: As with other states, the Department is concerned about background and transported ozone which may prevent compliance with a more stringent NAAQS. As Asian economies, like China and India, grow the problem is expected to only get worse.
- Wyoming: The AQD requests that EPA update its 1991 guidance to include technology and tools developed in the past 24 years and reflect current research on international transport…
See Here for Additional Background on State Regulators Voicing Concerns with EPA’s Ozone Proposal: