Overnight Energy & Environment

OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Republicans attack ozone rule

IT’S OZONE DAY: Tuesday was the last day to submit formal comments on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ozone reduction proposal, and Republicans took advantage of it to register their complaints.

The House Science Committee held a hearing to scrutinize the benefits that the EPA said would come with the regulation and outweigh its costs by more than two-to-one.

{mosads}Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) criticized the process the EPA used for picking and reviewing studies.

“During earlier stages of this rule-making, EPA relied on studies with data that was not publicly available,” Smith said. “This raises a lot of suspicions. Furthermore, the EPA has regularly chosen to disregard inconvenient scientific conclusions and muzzled dissenting voices.”

Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas) said that more research needs to be done, and Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) challenged the link between ozone — the main component of smog — and asthma.

Democrats on the panel defended the EPA and said it is on firm scientific footing, with a strong research record showing the respiratory harms associated with ozone.

Read more here.

And key an eye on The Hill Wednesday for more on the comments on the ozone proposal.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE: Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) reintroduced the Clean Air, Strong Economies Act, which would prevent the EPA from adopting a stricter ozone standard until 85 percent of areas in the country meet the 2008 standard of 75 parts per billion.

“Lowering the ground-level ozone standard would be a staggering blow to our economy,” Thune in a statement. “The Obama EPA needs to focus its efforts on areas already struggling with attainment, not strangle American industry with a job-killing regulation.”

Thune also joined Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, in a CNBC opinion piece Tuesday calling the EPA’s proposal “impractical and irresponsible.”

“Our nation has made great strides in cleaning up the air we breathe. Air-pollution levels are at an all-time low,” they wrote. “But 40 percent of Americans currently live in areas that haven’t met the current ozone standard.”

ON TAP WEDNESDAY I: The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a hearing on the bipartisan bill to reform the federal government’s regulation of toxic chemicals. The senators will hear from various experts on chemical safety matters from George Washington University, the Environmental Defense Fund, the state of Maryland and others.

ON TAP WEDNESDAY II: The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s subpanel on the environment and the economy will hold the first part of a hearing Wednesday on its bill to change the EPA’s coal ash disposal rule. Mathy Stanislaus, the EPA’s assistant administrator for solid waste, will testify, along with representatives of utilities, environmentalists and states.

Rest of Wednesday’s agenda …

The United Kingdom’s Prince Charles will be in town and will speak Wednesday at an event organized by the Global Ocean Commission on plastic waste in the ocean. Former British Foreign Secretary David Miliband and former Costa Rican President José María Figueres will also speak. 

The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars’ Canada Institute will hold a discussion Wednesday on the differences between environmental review in the United States and Canada.

The United States Agency for International Development’s Climate Change Resilient Development program will continue its symposium on climate-resilient development. Wednesday’s events will focus on resilience in cities.

Budget hearings …

Subcommittees of the House Appropriations Committee will hold hearings Wednesday on budget requests from the Energy Department’s environmental management programs and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The House Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee with jurisdiction over the Interior Department and the EPA will hold its public witnesses hearing for fiscal year 2016.

Subcommittees of the House Natural Resources Committee will hold hearings Wednesday on the budget requests for Interior Department’s Office of Surface Mining and its offices with authority over American Indian affairs.

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s water subcommittee will hold a hearing on the EPA’s budget request for its water programs.

NEWS BITE: Oil giant BP gave itself a big pat on the back Monday with a report saying that the Gulf of Mexico is rebounding well from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

But the report quickly ran into opposition from scientists and governments, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration quickly disagreed with the report, saying it “misinterprets and misapplies” the agency’s statements.

Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority also blasted it.

It also faces various other problems. The cause of dolphin deaths has still not been resolved, a full health assessment of the Gulf hasn’t been completed and BP’s claims about the oil’s impact are in dispute, the Times-Picayune said.


California is likely to extend water usage restrictions as its drought rages on, the Associated Press reports.

New Jersey’s Senate voted to condemn the settlement deal Gov. Chris Christie (R) made with Exxon Mobil Corp. over pollution, NJ.com reports.

For eight months, town government buildings in Windham, Mass., will be powered by renewable energy, the Eagle-Tribune reports.


Check out Tuesday’s stories …

– Markey: Some elements of our bill will make it in final chemical reform
– Oil slides to new 6-year low
– EPA’s waters rule would hit farmers, Republicans say
– House passes bill to overhaul EPA Scientific Advisory Board
– Interior secretary seeks cleaner, safer energy on public lands
– Boxer: Chemical bill came from industry
– House lawmakers debate power rule
– Republican chairman says EPA has ‘muzzled dissenting voices’
– EPA is on a ‘constitutionally reckless mission,’ Obama’s law professor testifies
– House GOP budget targets Obama’s environmental agenda
– Pacific cyclone could play big role in climate talks
– Path forward seen for chemical safety overhaul

Please send tips and comments to Timothy Cama, tcama@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @Timothy_Cama@thehill


Tags Environmental Protection Agency Joe Manchin Lamar Smith Ozone

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