We often say that clean air and a strong economy can go hand-in-hand. Underlying that belief is a recognition that we need the right policies in place to ensure both goals are achieved. Just five months after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued its strictest ozone regulation ever, throwing hundreds of counties into noncompliance with the standard, manufacturers are encouraged to see leaders from the House Energy and Commerce Committee (E&C) offer legislation that would restore some much-needed flexibility to this policy.
Since 1980, ozone levels are down nationwide more than 30 percent—and down nearly 20 percent in just the past decade. With new investments coming online utilizing the best and cleanest technologies available, these trends will continue. Modern manufacturing has evolved into a sleek, technology-driven industry, and air quality has improved vastly as a result. But many of our environmental policies, such as the ozone rule, have failed to keep pace.
H.R. 4775, the Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2016, offered by Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX) and cosponsored by Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX), House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH), and Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX), would ensure continued air quality improvements across the country, while better aligning the requirements with the realities of the economy, technology and existing policies.
The NAM looks forward to working with the House Energy and Commerce Committee to advance this legislation. H.R. 4775 is a balanced approach to an increasingly challenging policy. It ensures continued progress in improving air quality while restoring greater flexibility to the states and limiting some of the most economically harmful aspects of the 2015 ozone rule.