Twelve Republican members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to provide public information regarding the costs of meeting a potentially stricter ozone standard.
In a letter sent Nov. 13 to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, the Congressmen said recent independent analysis indicates that the cost to revise the existing National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone could be as high as $270 billion per year, making it the costliest regulation ever issued by EPA.
With the deadline approaching for EPA to issue a proposed rule to either revise or retain the current NAAQS for ozone, the Congressmen are requesting that EPA provide a “full accounting” of the costs of meeting the proposed standard, including the “as yet unrealized costs of the controls” needed to meet the existing ozone standard.
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.
EPA is under court order to issue a proposed rule by Dec. 1. The agency is expected to issue a stricter standard between 60 ppb and 70 ppb. The current standard, which was finalized in 2008, is 75 ppb.
The House recently approved a bill by a vote of 238 to 172 that would accelerate EPA's issuance of implementation guidance for meeting the NAAQS.
In October, EPA sent a proposal for revising the current NAAQS to the Office of Management and Budget.
Details of the proposal have not yet been made available. However, the proposal was classified as being economically significant. Economically significant rules are expected to have a cost of at least $100 million or are expected to have an adverse effect on the economy, productivity, jobs, the environment, public health or safety.
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