The House last week passed the Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2016 (H.R. 4775) by a 234-177 vote with 6 Democrats supporting and 10 Republicans voting against.  

The bill delays the implementation of the 2015 ozone standard until 2025 and extends the review cycle for ALL NAAQS from five to ten years.  The bill is in reaction to last year’s action by the EPA to tighten ozone standards from 75 parts per billion (ppb) to 70 ppb. 

Under the 70 ppb standard, the number of impacted counties is expected to increase. A companion bill, S. 2882, has been introduced in the Senate with Committee hearings scheduled later in June.  Passage is very unlikely in the Senate.  

According to the National Association of Manufacturers the EPA rule “will cost the economy billions of dollars each year and ... set targets that are unreachable in parts of the country due to a lack of flexibility within the regulation and high levels of background or naturally occurring ozone.”  

This legislation, NAM added “would ensure continued air quality improvements across the country, while better aligning the EPA’s regulatory requirements with the realities of the economy, technology and existing policies.”

The bill’s proponents say it will relieve states of having to impose “more than one” ozone rule at a time, after the EPA generated two in 2015 — one for the previously unpublished 2008 National Ambient Air Quality Standards, followed by the revised version in October.