Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) along with several other Republican senators introduced “The Clean Air, Strong Economies Act,” which seeks to block the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from revising its ozone standard downward until 85 percent of the current non-attainment counties comply with the existing standard.
EPA is under court order to issue a proposed rule to either revise or retain the current National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ozone by Dec. 1, 2014. EPA is expected to issue a stricter standard between 60 ppb and 70 ppb, compared with the current standard of 75 ppb.
Areas designated as "nonattainment" for not meeting the ozone standard often must require reformulated gasoline or a lower reid vapor pressure (RVP) for gasoline.
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.
The bill, which would amend the federal Clean Air Act, has bipartisan support but is unlikely to advance through Congress before EPA proposes its new limits in December.
Representatives Pete Olson (R-Texas) and Bob Latta (R-Ohio) introduced companion legislation in the House.
These measures follow other efforts to delay changes to ozone standards. Earlier this year, Senator Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) introduced the “Ozone Regulatory Delay and Extension of Assessment Length (ORDEAL) Act (S. 2514), which would extend EPA's timeline for reviewing and updating NAAQS from five to 10 years. The bill also would block EPA from enforcing a new ozone standard until 2018.
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