Washington, D.C.-Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, and Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Chairman-elect of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, issued a joint letter this evening to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson on EPA's decision to delay its revision to the 2008 National Ambient Air Quality Standard for ozone. Inhofe and Upton wrote that they are "fully committed to conducting vigorous oversight on this matter, including ensuring that EPA conducts an open, transparent, and fair process."
Upton and Inhofe wrote that they are "gravely concerned with the direction the Agency is headed" on revising the standard, given that the Agency's present course could cost thousands of jobs and restrict economic growth in local communities. "Depending on where the level is set," they wrote, "EPA estimates the economic costs of a new standard could reach $90 billion, while private studies show costs far exceeding this estimate. Those same studies show that EPA's revision could cost thousands of jobs."
"A nonattainment designation is akin to posting a ‘closed for business' sign on a local community," they continued. "Non-attainment can mean loss of industry and economic development, including plant closures; loss of federal highway and transit funding; increased EPA regulation and control over permitting decisions; increased costs for industrial facilities to implement more stringent controls; and increased fuel and energy costs."
Inhofe and Upton also called on Administrator Jackson to consider "the full range of scientific studies and information, including considering studies, and interpretations of studies, that the agency may disagree with." Moreover, they demanded the agency provide "a meaningful public comment period, in which stakeholders can contribute additional studies, as well as their knowledge and expertise."
Finally, Inhofe and Upton wrote that, "In our respective roles on the committees of jurisdiction over EPA, we are fully committed to conducting vigorous oversight on this matter, including ensuring that EPA conducts an open, transparent, and fair process. In the coming weeks, we will be sending you a number of technical questions about your interactions with [the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee]-and the quality and rigor of the science the agency is reviewing."