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News Releases from HeadquartersAir and Radiation (OAR)

What They Are Saying: EPA Proposed to Retain Existing NAAQS for Ozone

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WASHINGTON (July 14, 2020) — Yesterday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its proposal to retain, without changes, the existing, more stringent 2015 National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ozone. This proposal comes after careful review and consideration of the most current available scientific evidence and risk and exposure information, and with consultation of the Agency’s independent science advisors. Here’s what stakeholders and public officials are saying:

U.S. Congressman Paul Gosar (AZ-04): “EPA’s responsible decision to keep current Ozone standards continues to ensure that our air is clean and our communities are protected, while at the same time lowering the massive burden on states and localities to meet ever moving goalposts of environmental regulations. Administrator Wheeler and President Trump have seen consistent decreases in Ozone under this administration and keeping the standards that have driven that success in place is a win for our nation.”

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Commissioner Emily Lindley: “I appreciate EPA’s timely reassessment and retention of the current ozone standards and Administrator Wheeler’s efforts to ensure that these complicated reviews meet statutory deadlines while making certain that current scientific information is reviewed and appropriately considered. These assessments involve intricate scientific analysis and review, and completing this review within the Federal Clean Air Act Act’s mandated five year timeframe is no small task.”

Indiana Department of Environmental Management Commissioner Bruno Pigott: “This stringent ozone standard continues to ensure that Hoosiers have cleaner air than ever before. We’re happy that EPA remains committed to lowering ozone levels in Indiana and across the country.”

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Global Energy Institute President Marty Durbin: “While we will review the proposal in detail over the coming weeks, we commend EPA’s timely decision to retain the current ozone standards in accordance with the recommendations from staff and the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee. This decision reflects the considerable progress the United States has made to improve air quality and reduce emissions, including a 40 percent reduction in ozone-related emissions since 1990. This progress has occurred even while the U.S. economy, population, and energy use has grown, which is a testament to the successful collaboration between the EPA, states and industry to adopt cleaner technologies while maintaining economic growth. We look forward to continued progress as technology continues to improve.”

National Association of Manufacturers Vice President Energy & Resources Policy Rachel Jones: “Protecting the environment and improving public health for all Americans must come first. Manufacturers’ commitment to clean air is why we support EPA’s proposal to retain the Obama Ozone standards. Amid a global pandemic, manufacturers are serving on the front lines helping our nation respond to and recover from COVID-19. So at a time when we are facing record-breaking unemployment, an even lower ozone standard could have jeopardized more than 7 million manufacturing jobs. We shouldn’t have to choose between environmental protection and a strong economy. Americans deserve both – especially during these unprecedented times.”

American Petroleum Institute Senior Vice President of Policy, Economics and Regulatory Affairs Frank Macchiarola: “API joins with groups across several industry sectors to support this proposed rule. EPA’s proposal to retain the current primary ozone NAAQS will help the U.S. continue to reduce emissions, protect public health consistent with the Clean Air Act, and enable economic growth. The decline in U.S. emissions, which has led to the cleanest air in half a century, is due in large measure to cleaner-burning fuels and advanced technologies.”

American Exploration and Production Council CEO Anne Bradbury: “In addition to complying with numerous federal and state emissions standards, U.S. independent oil and natural gas producers take additional voluntary steps to continuously improve the industry’s environmental performance. EPA’s proposed ozone standard protects public health, without imposing unnecessary costs on American jobs or the economy.”

American Chemistry Council President & CEO Chris Jahn: “We welcome EPA’s proposed decision and are pleased that the Agency properly considered the scientific record and the recommendations of the majority of Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) members to retain the ozone NAAQS at the level of 70 parts per billion (ppb). This proposal appropriately retains the existing protective standard while preserving the manufacturing sector’s ability to continue critical economic production, especially during this unprecedented time. Importantly, EPA’s decision will provide the U.S. Business of Chemistry—an industry sector responsible for more than 25% of U.S. GDP—much needed regulatory certainty. Finalizing this rule in the coming months will help maintain manufacturing investment and jobs by ensuring continued timely and efficient facility operation around the country, critical today more than ever.”

American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers: “EPA rightly made the decision to retain the current ozone standard at 70 parts per billion, based on recent science-based studies that found little reason to tighten the standard. Retaining the current standard will continue to protect the public and provide permitting certainty that will encourage infrastructure investment and job growth to our industries that support 3.5 million jobs.”

Heritage Foundation Senior Research Fellow in Agricultural Policy Daren Bakst: “The EPA’s proposed decision to retain the Obama Administration’s 2015 ozone standards reflects a thoughtful consideration of the science and an application of common sense. Concentrations of ground-level ozone, which is the main ingredient in smog, is already  extremely low, and since 1990, ozone levels have declined by 25 percent and they continue to decline... In this review though, the EPA has followed the science and listened to its independent experts and career staff who have both recommended retaining the existing standards… The EPA should be especially commended for identifying ways to effectively review the ozone standard in a timely fashion, meeting the statutory time requirements.”