Says legislation would delay EPA from implementing a new ozone standard until counties can comply with the current ozone standard
Press Release, Lamar Alexander, WASHINGTON, June 4, 2015 – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy & Water Development, today cosponsored legislation that would prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from implementing a new standard for ozone until at least 85 percent of the counties that have been designated as nonattainment achieve full compliance with the current ozone standard.
“The air is demonstrably cleaner in Tennessee, and we need to give the regulations we have already put in place time to work before we interrupt efforts to improve air quality. This legislation would delay the EPA from implementing a new ozone standard that would increase more burdensome regulations and push several Tennessee counties out of attainment, which would have an impact on economic development,” Alexander said.
“If counties in Tennessee want to encourage job growth, they’ve got to have clean air so companies can easily get permits to build new plants.” Under the federal Clean Air Act, counties must show they’ve met the National Ambient Air Quality Standards to receive what is known as “attainment status.” Counties that have not attained clean air under federal guidelines must comply with tougher air emission standards, which mean companies looking to build new manufacturing plants must use more pollution control equipment. That makes it more expensive for companies to locate within nonattainment counties and create jobs, Alexander said.
Today, four counties in Tennessee do not meet the EPA’s current ozone standard. However, EPA is proposing to further lower the ozone standard which will mean that up to 15 Tennessee counties could fail to meet the new standard and not be in “attainment.” This means counties across Tennessee will have a harder time recruiting new jobs or convincing existing businesses to expand.
The Clean Air, Strong Economies (CASE) Act would stem the economic harm that could be caused by further lowering the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone across the country. Counties with poor air quality need to have time to comply with the current ozone standard before EPA implements a new ozone standard, Alexander said.