INHOFE STATEMENT ON EPA PROPOSAL FOR NEW OZONE STANDARD
WASHINGTON, DC – Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, today commented on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposal for new ozone standards.
“EPA’s proposal to tighten the ozone standard, if implemented, will impose significant costs on counties and states across the country for too little environmental benefit,” Senator Inhofe said. "Air pollution levels in the United States are at an all-time low, but this proposal would artificially increase the number of counties in nonattainment from 104 counties to 533 counties. In fact, more than 80 percent of monitored areas would be in violation.
“The fact is America continues to achieve real progress in reducing air pollution. Over the last 30 years, air quality standards have been set at very low levels and pollution has been cut by more than half. But more remains to be done. Many areas are still are not complying with the current law. Now is not the time to be imposing more stringent new regulations that will further drive up the cost of energy on American families. We should start enforcing existing air quality standards.
“From my understanding, part of the basis of this proposed tightening relies on a reanalysis by EPA career staff of a single study – in the original study, the authors found no health effect at levels lower than the current standard, but the EPA staff fiddled with the numbers to find one. In fact, the study’s author told Clean Air Science Advisory Committee (CASAC) that his study was not designed to do what EPA was trying to do with it. And some CASAC members strongly disagreed with the justification that was provided for tightening the standard.
“I am proud that Oklahoma has made tremendous progress in cleaning up our air. Today there is not a single county in non-attainment for ozone, and our particulate matter levels are low too. But under EPA’s proposal, if set it at .070 parts per million, 12 to 15 Oklahoma counties would be brought into nonattainment. These counties would face stiff federal penalties, could lose highway dollars, and would become unattractive places to locate new businesses.”
Last September, Senator Inhofe introduced the Clean Air Attainment Enforcement Act, which sought to amend the Clean Air Act to strengthen penalties on major emission sources in the most polluted areas of the country that fail to meet clean air standards by the attainment deadlines under current Clean Air Act standards. Senator Inhofe intends to reintroduce his bill in the following weeks.