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December 17, 2014


WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, submitted the following statement for the record today for the EPW Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety hearing entitled: “Oversight Hearing: EPA’s Proposed National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone.” Witnesses included Janet McCabe, Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Dr. Thomas William Ferkol Jr, Alexis Hartmann Professor of Pediatrics and Professor of Cell Biology and Physiology, Division of Allergy, Immunology, and Pulmonary Medicine at the Washington University School of Medicine; Vickie Patton, General Council for the Environmental Defense Fund; Dr. Gregory A. Wellenius, Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Associate Director at the Center for Environmental Health and Technology for Brown University’s School of Medicine; Ross Eisenburg, Vice President of Energy and Resources Policy for the National Association of Manufacturers; and Dr. Bryan W. Shaw, Chairman of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

As submitted for the record: 

Chairman Whitehouse, thank you for holding this hearing.

As I’ve watched the President’s actions since November, it has become clear to me that he is intent on making the environment the bedrock of his legacy. 

We’re seeing this with his eagerness to strike an international global warming agreement, however hollow, as we saw recently in China.

But we see it most clearly with EPA’s own agenda, which is, quite simply intent to pursue regulations without concern for their impact on jobs or the economy.

EPA is pursuing methane and hydraulic fracturing regulations in an effort to stall the booming oil and gas sector, which employs over 9 million people. 

To further tighten the screws on coal, which supplies nearly 40% of our electricity at very affordable prices, the EPA is finalizing a rule this week that will establish federal regulations for coal ash, which is something states have done well for decades.  And this is added to the Clean Power Plan which will enable EPA to completely takeover the nation’s electric grid.

Then there’s the Waters of the United States rule, which will allow EPA bureaucrats to regulate every drop of water we have.  The list goes on and on.

This regulatory agenda is all about the President establishing a permanent system enacting his philosophy and guiding mentality that government knows best.

The ozone rule may be the clearest evidence of this, as you can see in the map behind.

The EPA’s rule proposes lowering the Ozone standard from 75 parts per billion to 65 parts per billion and leaves the door open to go as low as 60 parts per billion.

Why that low?  Because it is what the environmentalists want.  With a standard that low, 2,829 counties will be out of attainment across the country, covering 95% of the total population.  Keep in mind that 40% of the population continues to live in areas that are out of attainment with the current standard of 75 parts per billion.

In Oklahoma, all 77 counties would be put out of attainment if the standard is lowered to 60, and compliance could cost as much as $846 million and cause 13,000 job losses.

Across the country, the cost could exceed $300 billion annually and destroy 2.9 million jobs.

I’ve long talked about the cost of cap-and-trade, but now many are arguing that the Ozone rule could be the most expensive regulation ever.

By lowering the standard this far, EPA will be giving itself the authority to give a thumbs up or thumbs down to nearly every road and manufacturing project proposal across the country. 

Importantly, EPA has no path forward on how the nation would ever attain the proposed standard, as the technology we have today is not sufficient to reduce emissions to the low levels the President wants. 

Add to that naturally occurring ozone, which according to the proposed rule can exceed 75 in some areas, and it’s fair to question whether EPA’s motive is health based or more about seizing for itself more power as it is doing with its other rules like the Clean Power Plan.

And this is something Steven Beshear understands.  He is the Democrat Governor of Kentucky and has pledged to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050, yet last month he wrote President Obama and asked him to keep the standard where it is because of the detrimental impact it would have on Kentucky job creators and manufacturers.  I’d like to submit that letter for the record.

Additionally, it is worth noting that this is the same regulation that President Obama cancelled because of its extreme cost.  He wrote in September 2011 that the rule was not appropriate, “particularly as our economy continues to recover.” 

I am not sure what is different about our economy today compared to then – there are still a lot of people suffering, looking for jobs, and many families are still far from catching up to where they were before the recession. 

The ozone rule is something I look forward to conducting more rigorous oversight of in the next Congress. 


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