Industry groups endorse ozone bill

Industry groups endorse ozone bill
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Critics of the Obama administration’s tightened standards on surface-level ozone have endorsed a House package to reform how the government regulates the pollutant. 

In a letter to members of Congress on Monday, 215 groups said they support Rep. Pete OlsonPeter (Pete) Graham OlsonWhat's causing the congressional 'Texodus'? Here are the lawmakers who aren't seeking reelection in 2020 Texas Republicans sound alarm about rapidly evolving state MORE’s (R-Texas) bill to delay the implementation date for the ozone standards released last October. 

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The legislation would also slow down the required review schedule for the National Ambient Air Quality Standards, which are Environmental Protection Agency pollution rules that include ozone.

The bill, the groups said, would help states, localities and industrial producers reduce their ozone pollution without causing them economic problems, a major complaint from groups and officials when the EPA released the new rule last year. 

The bill “will help prevent unnecessary nonattainment designations and cost burdens, without sacrificing environmental protection,” the groups wrote. "The legislation’s permitting relief and other reforms are also an important step towards air standards that balance environmental protection and economic development.”

The groups suggested the bill be included as a policy rider in the 2017 EPA spending legislation, which hasn’t been released yet. Major groups such as the American Petroleum Institute, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers, which has led the charge against the ozone standards, signed the letter.

The EPA in October announced a new ozone standard of 70 parts per billion, a tighter level than the 75 parts per billion limit that was then on the books.

Industry groups warn that such a change would be expensive to implement and threaten jobs. They had encouraged the Obama administration not to change the standard, and many groups and states have sued over them since their release.

The EPA and the Obama administration, though, have said their economic concerns are unwarranted, noting declines in ozone pollution even as the economy has grown. The EPA has said the rule will prevent hundreds of premature deaths and reduce spending on health problems more than the cost of implementing the standards.