Tipton Votes to Protect Colorado from Unworkable Ozone Standard
Congressman Scott Tipton (CO-03) voted in support of a bill that would delay the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 2015 ambient-air-quality standards for ozone emissions until 2026. The bill, the Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2017 (H.R. 806), passed the House with a vote of 229-199.
“Under the Obama Administration, the EPA pushed through these ozone standards without consideration for unique state and regional conditions, such as naturally occurring ozone levels in the Mountain West. Some of Colorado’s communities would face non-attainment status through no action of their own, triggering countless regulatory remedies and control plans that would be disastrous for our state’s economy,” Tipton said.
The EPA’s final ozone emission regulations under the Clean Air Act’s National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) program require Colorado to achieve a standard between 65 and 70 parts per billion (ppb). Under the current implementation schedule, the EPA will begin evaluating states for attainment in October of 2017.
A report issued by Holland & Hart LLP on Dec. 3, 2014, indicated that naturally occurring ozone – caused by wildfires or atmospheric drift – are regularly measured between 55-65ppb in the Mountain West. The report also noted that ozone levels exceeding 75ppb have been measured in remote rural areas and national parks at high elevations.
In a March 2015 letter to the EPA, the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment wrote that the proposed ozone standards, “would raise additional questions about scientific basis and Colorado’s ability to craft an attainment plan. This is particularly the case when considering background levels, interstate transport, and Colorado’s inability to impose controls on sources outside of its jurisdiction.”
In addition to delaying implementation of the ozone standards until 2026, the Ozone Implementation Act of 2017 also authorizes the EPA Administrator to consider technological feasibility of ozone reduction when revising the NAAQS.
“When writing the ozone regulations, the EPA chose to ignore naturally occurring ozone, as well as the fact that ozone emissions have decreased by 25 percent in the last 35 years – a period of time in which our nation’s economy more than doubled,” Tipton added. “Giving states more time to comply with the regulations, while authorizing the EPA to consider the extent to which ozone controls are feasible in certain regions, will be critical for the health of Colorado’s economy.”