Dem governors call for strong ozone rule

Regulators should write a stringent new surface-level ozone rule that follows “sound science and settled law,” five Democratic governors said in a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy. 

The governors — Jerry Brown (Calif.), Maggie HassanMargaret (Maggie) HassanHouse panel advances DHS cyber vulnerabilities bills Chris Pappas wins Democratic House primary in New Hampshire Overnight Health Care: Manchin fires gun at anti-ObamaCare lawsuit in new ad | More Dems come out against Kavanaugh | Michigan seeks Medicaid work requirements MORE (N.H.), Jay Inslee (Wash.), Dannel Malloy (Conn.) and Peter Shumlin (Vt.) — praised the 45-year-old Clean Air Act for improving public health, but they said EPA's current ozone rule isn’t strong enough to do that in the future. 

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“The 2008 primary ozone standard is inadequate to protect public health,” the governors wrote in a Friday letter. “We urge you to finalize the proposed ozone standards in a timely manner that reflects sound science and settled law.”

The EPA is finalizing a rule to tighten its ozone standard from 75 parts per billion to 65 or 70 parts per billion. 

The agency has said the new standards will protect public health, especially among children, the elderly and those with respiratory issues. But opponents of the rule, especially Republicans and manufacturers, say the standards will be expensive to implement and could lead to job losses. 

In their letter, the governors tried to rebut that argument, saying Clean Air Act regulations have “saved hundreds of thousands of lives and generated trillions of dollars in economic benefits to our nation.”

“Compliance with national ambient air quality standards has consistently proven less costly and more beneficial than either its critics or supporters predicted,” they wrote. “The health and environmental benefits associated with cleaner air continue to outweigh the costs of achieving those standards.”

Republicans have launched a legislative assault on the rule, introducing bills to block the EPA by taking the regulatory power out of its hands, forcing it to consider cost when writing pollution rules and delaying new regulations until counties can comply with the current ones. 

Read the letter