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November 26, 2014

Inhofe Promises Rigorous Oversight of Proposed Ozone Standard

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, pledged today that the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) proposal to lower the Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard would undergo rigorous oversight in the new Congress. 

"EPA's proposal to lower the Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) to between 65 parts per billion and 70 ppb will lower our nation's economic competitiveness and stifle job creation for decades," said Inhofe. "The EPA's previously proposed Ozone standard came with a price tag of up to $90 billion per year, by EPA's own estimation.  In 2011, President Obama pulled back on the 2010 proposal due to high costs and the potential of a detrimental impact to American businesses. Now the EPA is proposing an equally aggressive standard while failing to even be advised about the potential cost of lowering the standard.  As Senate committees return to regular order in the new Congress, this rule will face rigorous oversight so we can gain a better understanding of the health and economic impacts of the proposed standard, and we will solicit the thoughtful input of state and local leaders across the country.

"EPA left the door open to lower the standard as far as 60 ppb, which would force out of attainment all 77 counties in Oklahoma.  This would put federal highway funds at risk and it would restrict industry plans to expand as well as halt any plans to build new manufacturing or production facilities.  The rule would also cost Oklahoma roughly 14,000 well-paying jobs and force $846 million in total compliance costs on Oklahoma's job creators.  Oklahoma families would see their electricity prices rise 15 percent and their household incomes drop an average of $660 per year, an unnecessary sacrifice to those who seek to provide better lives for their loved ones. I refuse to let the people of Oklahoma, and America more broadly, fall victim to EPA's over-regulation and extreme environmentalist agenda. Today we are breathing the cleanest air since the Clean Air Act was passed in the 1970s, and our country should first look to meet the current Ozone standard before we even consider adding more burdensome, costly mandates."

On Nov. 20, Sens. Inhofe and David Vitter (R-La.) sent a letter to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) at the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) urging the White House to not allow the EPA to propose a new Ozone standard without first being advised by the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) on the potential economic impacts of the rule.  The Clean Air Act requires CASAC to perform this analysis and report it to the EPA Administrator as part of its review of the standard, but CASAC did not conduct the review and EPA refused to officially request it, despite the clear statutory requirement that the analysis be conducted.

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