Ozone limits at play as EPA, industry and environmental groups weigh in
After the Environmental Protection Agency initially announced a delay in enforcing stricter ozone limits, the agency now plans to meet the original October deadline for implementing the new standards. But according to an article in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society, industry-supported legislation could put a hold on the new limits once again.
Under the Clean Air Act, EPA can review and adjust standards for ozone emissions, which have been linked to smog and respiratory illnesses. The standards would affect primary polluters, such as factories, power plants and refineries, that emit the gas. Glenn Hess, a special correspondent at C&EN, reports that in 2015, the agency reduced the ozone standard from 75 to 70 parts per billion (ppb). But this summer, EPA chief Scott Pruitt announced that the rule, originally set to be implemented in October, would be delayed until 2018. As a result, numerous state attorneys general, public health organizations and environmental groups filed suit to challenge the delay. The agency then returned to the original deadline.
But on another front to fight the new limits, the House of Representatives passed the Ozone Standards Implementation Act in July. A nearly identical bill is pending in the Senate. The legislation would postpone enforcement of the new rule until 2025. Manufacturers support this bill for a variety of reasons. They say the stricter standard could hurt investments and job creation, and it doesn't allow businesses enough time to comply. The legislation would also allow EPA to consider the impact of technological advancements when reviewing air pollution limits. Additionally, it would extend the timeline for updating standards to every 10 years, instead of every five years, as is currently the case.