U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, and Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), Chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, today sent a letter to Gina McCarthy, Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), urging EPA to assist the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) in conducting a full evaluation of the adverse effects of EPA's upcoming proposal to lower the ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) before moving forward in the rulemaking process.
"EPA and CASAC do not get to pick and choose which parts of the Clean Air Act they choose to follow. Their continued disregard for this critical statutory mandate highlights a systemic bias at the Agency," wrote Vitter and Smith. "It is careless and unacceptable to move forward with this rulemaking, defying both Congressional requests and clear statutory language. Transparent advice on any and all adverse effects of the proposed ozone standard is essential to the credibility of a new standard and the ability of our states to develop implementation plans to carry out these regulations."
CASAC recently failed to comply with the Clean Air Act (CAA) when transmitting its advice to EPA recommending a lowering of the ozone NAAQS to between 60-70 parts per billion, omitting an evaluation of the adverse effects of attaining and maintaining a tighter standard. In the letter, Vitter and Smith request a timeline from EPA that allows for CASAC to conduct the evaluation, including public comment prior to EPA's court mandated issuance of a proposal by December 2014.
Vitter has been urging CASAC and EPA in a series of letters to conduct the ozone NAAQS review process in a transparent manner, including the need to address error corrections and risk data errors in the scientific assessments used.