WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) today introduced the Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2016, legislation that would update how the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) addresses ozone requirements in the Clean Air Act.

“This commonsense legislation provides a needed update to the way the EPA releases new ozone standards. Communities in West Virginia and across the country are struggling to comply with a never ending stream of mandates from this administration, and this constantly changing regulatory framework is a burden our economy can’t afford. This bill will provide more certainty to states, cut down compliance costs and help save much-needed jobs,” said Senator Capito.

“This bill will bring commonsense to the EPA’s approach on how they administer new ozone standard requirements and will build on efforts to rein in overreaching regulations,” said Senator Flake. “Creating a more certain regulatory environment will help ease the burden of ozone regulations and will allow businesses to protect much-needed jobs.”

Currently, the EPA must review national ambient air quality standards every five years. This has resulted in new ozone standards being issued before previous standards are implemented, leaving states faced with the prospect of simultaneously implementing two ozone standards. The Capito-Flake bill would elongate the time between each review from five years to 10 years, making it easier and more cost-effective for states to comply.

The Capito-Flake bill also addresses the overlap between standards that were issued in 2008 and 2015. States did not receive implementation guidelines for the 2008 ozone standards until March 2015. Seven months later, in October 2015, the EPA issued new standards to replace the existing 2008 standards, which states are still working to comply with. This bill extends the compliance date for the 2015 standards to 2025. It also directs the EPA to submit a report to Congress within two years regarding the impact of foreign pollutions sources on compliance.

In addition to Senators Capito and Flake, the legislation is co-sponsored by Senators John Cornyn (R-Texas), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), John McCain (R-Ariz.) and David Vitter (R-La.).

Highlights of the Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2016:

Revised Timelines

  • Changes the mandatory review of national ambient air quality standards from five years to 10 years.
  • Phases in implementation of the 2008 and 2015 ozone standards, extending the compliance date for the 2015 standards to 2025. 

Consideration of Feasibility

  • Calls on the EPA to consider technological feasibility when revising standards.

Congressional Oversight

  • EPA shall submit a report to Congress within two years regarding the impacts of foreign emissions on compliance and related matters.

Click here to view a one-pager on the bill.

Click here to view the bill text.