The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced recently that it had postponed final rule on the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) to late October. The agency had originally planned to finalize rules on the ozone standard by the end of August, but it decided on late October because it wanted to spend more time reviewing public comments on the proposal.
In January of this year, the EPA proposed revisions to the Bush administration’s 2008 ozone standard. The EPA advocates that its proposal would enhance the eight-hour standard created to protect citizens’ health, shifting the requirement from 0.075 parts per million (ppm) to a range of 0.060 to 0.070 ppm, as well as create an all-new secondary standard designed to protect environmental resources. The EPA, environmentalists, states and industry went to court over the Bush administration’s rejection of these proposals in March of 2008. The litigation, State of Mississippi v. EPA, is currently before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, awaiting the Obama administration’s final revisions. The proposed restrictions and tightening of the ozone standard has received some opposition from a bipartisan group of seven senators, who urged the EPA not to tighten the ozone standard. In a recent letter to Lisa Jackson, administrator of the EPA, the senators said they “believe that changing the rules at this time will have a significant negative impact on our states’ workers and families and will compound the hardship that many are now facing in these difficult economic times.”
Supporters of the EPA’s proposal are concerned about delay of the final rule, and they believe that postponing the agency’s final decision could dilute the final rule. To view the seven senators’ letter to the administrator visit www.TakingTheHill.com.