Washington, D.C. The Science, Space, and Technology Committee today held a hearing to examine the scientific basis and technological achievability of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ozone. The agency’s proposal seeks to lower the standard to 65-70 parts per billion (ppb), from the current 75 ppb standard that was set in 2008. 

Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): “The air we breathe is significantly cleaner and will continue to improve thanks to new technologies. However, it is premature and unnecessary for the EPA to propose a new standard when we have not yet given states the opportunity to meet the 2008 standard. These proposed standards are impossible to meet in some places and are likely to have little or no impact. Implementation of this rule will cost billions of dollars and adversely affect many Americans. These are the wrong regulations at the wrong time.”

Today’s witnesses discussed how this proposed rule will impact American small businesses and job creation. According to analysis by the Business Roundtable, nearly 60 percent of Americans would live in areas of non-attainment, including 45 of 50 states that would be completely or partially violating the standard.

Witnesses said that a non-attainment designation under the Clean Air Act would stop new employers from moving into the state and halt expansion and economic development. In addition to higher energy prices, according to a February 2015 National Economic Research Associates comprehensive study, average annual household consumption could be reduced by $830 per household per year. 

Many communities still struggle to meet the standards that were set in 2008 and other communities have never met the standards set in 1979. In 2010, businesses and communities across the country protested the EPA’s efforts to tighten these standards. The overwhelming concerns eventually forced President Obama to withdraw the proposal.

The following witnesses testified today:

Mr. Harry C. Alford, President and CEO, National Black Chamber of Commerce

Mr. Ray Keating, Chief Economist, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council

Dr. Mary B. Rice, Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Pulmonary and Critical Care Physician, Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Dr. Allen S. Lefohn, President, A.S.L. & Associates

Mr. Eldon Heaston, Executive Director, Mojave Desert and Antelope Valley Air Quality Management District

For additional information about today’s hearing, including witness testimony and the archived webcast, visit the Science, Space, and Technology Committee website.