Manufacturers are encouraged by the statements made by Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-CO) regarding the need for relief from the Environmental Protection Agency’s October 2015 ozone standards. The governor made the following statement yesterday:
“So I think it would be a great idea if they suspended the standard. I mean, just with the background [ozone], if you’re not going to be able to conform to a standard like this, you are leaving the risk or the possibility that there will be penalties of one sort or another that come from your lack of compliance. Obviously, no different than any business, states want to have as much predictability as possible, and I think if they suspend the standards, it’s not going to slow us down from continuing to try and make our air cleaner…
You know, we’re a mile high. Air quality issues affect us more directly than they do at lower elevations. So we’re going to keep pushing it, we’re not going to back off, we’re going to continue to improve the air quality in the state every year if I have anything to say about it, but at the same time, those standards, you know, to be punitive when you’re working as hard as you can … to get cleaner air as rapidly as you can, it seems like it’s not the most constructive stance.”
Gov. Hickenlooper accurately frames the issue. This is not about whether we want clean air or not; we all want clean air. This is about needing reasonable policies that not only allow for continued improvements to air quality, but also for continued investment and economic growth. The good news is we have made a lot of progress over the past four decades improving air quality, and we know that progress will continue, even in the absence of the 2015 ozone standards. However, while manufacturers continue developing new products, processes and solutions to further environmental sustainability, they operate with the very real implications of out-of-date policies. With ozone standards now approaching background levels in many parts of the country and the decades-old Clean Air Act lacking the flexibility mechanisms to bring new investments into compliance in these regions, it’s clear the time has come to modernize this policy.
Manufacturers wholly support improvements to air quality and are continually striving for improvement. But we need modern laws and regulations that work for us, not against us. Manufacturers call on Congress to step in and enact a modern policy that provides much-needed implementation relief from the 2015 ozone standards, so that we can continue adding value and jobs to the economy while furthering environmental improvements.
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