EPA Sends Proposed Ozone Standard to White House

The Environmental Protection Agency has sent a proposal for revising the current National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) to the Office of Management and Budget.

Information about the proposal is not yet available. However, the OMB website classifies the proposal as being economically significant. Economically significant rules are rules that are expected to have a cost of at least $100 million or are expected to have any adverse effect on the economy, productivity, jobs, the environment, public health or safety.

EPA, which is under court order to issue a proposed rule to either revise or retain the current NAAQS for ozone by Dec. 1, is expected to issue a stricter standard between 60 ppb and 70 ppb. The current standard is 75 ppb.

Lowering the standard could result in costly changes in operations for fuel marketers. Industry groups also have said it could increase the cost of motor fuels and create bottlenecks in the gasoline marketplace.

Areas designated as "nonattainment" for not meeting the ozone standard often must require reformulated gasoline or a lower reid vapor pressure (RVP) for gasoline.

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) in September, along with several other Republican senators, introduced “The Clean Air, Strong Economies Act,” which seeks to block the EPA from revising its ozone standard downward until 85 percent of the current non-attainment counties comply with the existing standard.

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