Week ahead: EPA set to release ozone rule

The Environmental Protection Agency is set to release a contentious new rule limiting surface-level ozone pollution.

The agency has proposed tightening the current standard on ozone from 75 parts per billion to 65 or 70 parts per billion.

Regulators say they need to raise the standards to help the environment and improve public health. But the proposal has drawn scorn and bitter opposition from Republicans and business groups, who say the rule will be prohibitively expensive and lead to billions of dollars in compliance costs.

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The EPA released its proposed rule last year, immediately kicking off a lobbying spree and public campaign by the National Association of Manufacturers and other business groups. The groups, and their Republican allies, have taken to calling the ozone proposal the “most expensive regulation ever.”

But regulators say they have the right to set federal limits on ozone, also called smog. They say strict standards are important to protecting the public and cutting down on public health problems like asthma.

The Obama administration has been reviewing the rule since August, and agreed in court to put out the new rules by Oct. 1.

On Capitol Hill, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is taking the administration to task.

On Tuesday, the committee will hold a hearing on the “economy-wide implications of President Obama’s air agenda,” and a subcommittee will meet to discuss the Endangered Species Act. Two governors and the director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are slated to testify.

A committee subpanel will hold a hearing Wednesday on the role of the Army Corps of Engineers in crafting new water regulations.

A Senate Transportation Committee panel will hold a hearing on pipeline safety on Tuesday. In the House, a Transportation subcommittee will discuss Great Lakes restoration projects on Wednesday.

Away from the Capitol, The Hill is hosting an event on the proposed methane regulations from the Obama administration on Tuesday. Click here for more information the event: http://bit.ly/1LxjDs6

 

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