WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee, released the following statement in response to the new National Ambient Air Quality Standard for ground-level ozone announced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today. The standard was lowered from 75 parts-per-billion (ppb) to 70 ppb.
“The new ozone standard announced today will jeopardize our ability to create new manufacturing jobs at a time when West Virginia’s growing natural gas reserves should mean more factories and plants are coming online,” said Senator Capito. “EPA continues to hold America back with its onerous regulations and deeply flawed permitting process for new and expanding manufacturing facilities. If the administration is serious about growing manufacturing jobs, EPA should promptly provide guidance to businesses seeking permits to construct and expand manufacturing facilities.”
In 2008, the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for ground-level ozone was lowered from 84 ppb to 75 ppb. From 2010-11, EPA reconsidered this new 2008 standard and did not change the standard in light of “regulatory costs and burdens, particularly in this economically challenging time.” States are only now starting to implement ozone reductions under the 2008 standard. Many states believe that imposing significant additional reductions, simultaneous with the EPA-delayed implementation of the 2008 standard, is both unfair and counterproductive.
Most of the country currently does not meet the 2008 standard. With the standard announced today, 8 of West Virginia’s 55 counties would be out of attainment. It took EPA until 2015 to issue implementing regulations and guidance to help businesses seeking permits understand how to comply the 2008 standard. It is vital that EPA issue guidance promptly in order to minimize the economic consequences of the revised standard. Nonattainment areas face severe consequences that significantly curtail business development and job growth.
In May, Senator Capito introduced the Promoting New Manufacturing Act to reduce costly permitting delays caused by EPA regulations, like the ozone standard announced today, increase investment in American manufacturing and create new jobs for hard-working taxpayers. The legislation requires EPA to provide concurrent guidance on how to comply with new or revised air quality standards, increases transparency by making public the number of Clean Air Act New Source Review (NSR) preconstruction permits issued annually and the timelines for the full permitting process, and expedites the permitting process.
She is also a co-sponsor of The Clean Air, Strong Economies (CASE) Act, which fights back against the economic harm projected to accompany the stricter ground-level ozone limits.