Senate GOP press EPA over ozone effort

Republican senators are pushing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to calculate and disclose the amount of money the agency spent on a failed effort to issue tough standards for smog.

In 2010, the EPA tried to issue a new air quality regulation on ozone, the main component of smog, but President Obama ordered a stop to the effort the following year. The decision was a major blow to environmentalists at the time.

Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsRhode Island announces plan to pay DACA renewal fee for every 'Dreamer' in state Mich. Senate candidate opts for House run instead NAACP sues Trump for ending DACA MORE (R-Ala.) asked the EPA how much money was spent trying to revise the standard in 2011, but the agency “has evaded providing a response” ever since, he and seven other Senate Republicans wrote in a letter to the EPA on Tuesday.

“We can only conclude, in the face of repeated refusals to respond to or acknowledge a legitimate question about how taxpayer money has been spent by EPA, that EPA either seeks to thwart our oversight role in this matter or cannot answer the question,” they wrote. “Either explanation is deeply troubling.”

They note that the cost estimate should account for staffers working on the revision effort, public hearings held across the country and payments to outside scientists and consultants.

By law, the EPA is required to review its standards on ozone every five years and update them if necessary. It last issued a standard in 2008, though, so the administration shelved the 2011 effort to perform a full review this year. That effort is still in the works.

In addition to Sessions, Sens. David VitterDavid VitterYou're fired! Why it's time to ditch the Fed's community banker seat Overnight Energy: Trump set to propose sharp cuts to EPA, energy spending Former La. official tapped as lead offshore drilling regulator MORE (R-La.), James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeA third of Congress hasn’t held a town hall — it’s time to take action Anonymous affiliate publishes claimed list of GOP private contact info Wasting America’s nuclear opportunity MORE (R-Okla.), John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoDems force 'Medicare for All' on Americans but exempt themselves GOP sees fresh opening with Dems’ single payer embrace Overnight Health Care: CBO predicts 15 percent ObamaCare premium hike | Trump calls Sanders single-payer plan ‘curse on the US’ | Republican seeks score of Sanders’s bill MORE (R-Wyo.), Mike CrapoMichael (Mike) Dean CrapoSenate Banking panel approves Trump's Fed, comptroller nominees Harvey damage adds urgency to flood insurance debate Don't let funding for US Forest Service go up in flames MORE (R-Idaho), Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerWeek ahead: Crunch time for defense bill’s cyber reforms | Equifax under scrutiny Senator says he nearly has the votes for ObamaCare repeal GOP braces for Bannon primary attacks MORE (R-Miss.), John BoozmanJohn Nichols BoozmanGOP senator undergoing follow-up surgery next week An unlikely home in DC Lobbying World MORE (R-Ark.) and Deb FischerDebra (Deb) Strobel FischerSenate approves Trump's debt deal with Democrats Trump administration turns to rural communities for input on infrastructure bill Senators eye ticket fee to overhaul airports MORE (R-Neb.) signed Tuesday’s letter.