WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee’s Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee, released the following statement on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) announcement that the agency would withdraw a punishing policy known as “once-in-always-in.” Senator Capito and Senate EPW Committee Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) asked EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to withdraw the policy in a January 9, 2018, letter.
“Maintaining the outdated and misguided ‘once-in-always-in’ policy just doesn’t make sense. Rather than reward facilities for doing the right thing and working to decrease emissions, it makes it harder for them to innovate and improve operations,” Senator Capito said. “By deciding to withdraw this counterproductive policy, Administrator Pruitt is once again proving that the Trump administration is committed to rolling back harmful regulations that do nothing but hold back companies and industries that are critical to our economy and already working to improve environmental quality.”
The “once-in-always-in” policy had maintained that once a factory, plant, or other type of facility becomes subject to Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) standards under the Clean Air Act, it remains subject to the standards—even if it lowers its emissions below the levels that triggered the standards in the first place.
On Nov. 15, 2017, the EPW Committee held a hearing titled “Promoting American Leadership in Reducing Air Emissions through Innovation.” Testimony at the hearing identified the EPA’s “once-in-always-in” policy as one that discourages modernization and emissions reduction efforts.
A diverse range of stakeholders, from the state of Connecticut to the American Petroleum Institute, have called for withdrawal of the policy. In 2017 comments, the state of Connecticut states, “Such a policy discourages pollution prevention efforts and often forces business owners with very small actual hazardous pollutant emissions to expend significant resources not consistent with the air emission and health benefits achieved. State and federal regulatory agencies also must expend significant resources on compliance and enforcement efforts for these facilities with small actual emissions, often gaining little in air quality improvement.”
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