U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, today released the transcripts from two EPW Republican field briefings held last month in Louisiana. The field briefings focused on the potential impacts of the current review of the ozone national ambient air quality standards by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and featured local experts to analyze the negative impacts of the EPA's plan to revise the standard.

Key highlights from August 5, 2014 briefing in Baton Rouge, La.:

• "Forcing industry to install controls in an area that is at or near background will cause further economic hardship to the communities. Industry will either have to shut in, causing layoffs or pass their cost on to the consumer." - Michael Vince, Air Permits Division, Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ)

• "We are very concerned about the impact this change can have given the industrial development...this could really impact that, increasing the cost of existing expansions, complicating the ability to quickly respond to congestion, reducing the state's competitiveness for additional expansion opportunities." - Secretary Sherri LeBas, Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development

• "Baton Rouge has faced the frustration of foregoing economic growth and incurring the expense of actually meeting the EPA's prior goal only to be effectively slapped in the face by the EPA saying, ‘Well, that's not good enough.'" - Professor Joseph Mason, Hermann Moyse, Jr./Louisiana Bankers Association Endowed Professor of Banking, Louisiana State University

Click here to read the entire transcript of the August 5, 2014 field briefing.

Key highlights from August 22, 2014 briefing in Lake Charles, La.:

• "The 60-parts-per-billion standard for ozone will place most of the Country in a status of non-attainment. Even with today's technology, many parts of the Country will not be able to meet the standard.... the introduction of this new regulation would significantly have a negative impact on the local economy, on local jobs, and the people of Southwest Louisiana and the nation as well." - Larry DeRoussel, Executive Director, Lake Area Industry Alliance

• "Louisiana is an attractive place to invest now in part because every part of this state meets the ozone standard of 75 parts per billion, the current standard. Now, if EPA were to finalize the standard as well as 60 parts per billion, all of Louisiana, along with most of the rest of the Country would be a non-attainment. Non-attainment areas are very difficult places to expand or improve a business of any size due to more extensive and restrictive regulation." - Michael P. Walls, Vice President of Regulatory & Technical Affairs, American Chemistry Council

• "Correct me if I'm missing something, but under statute, part of the CASAC process is mandate and study of impacts including economic impact; is that accurate?" - Sen. David Vitter

o "Correct." - Mr. Walls

o "That's a statutory requirement, correct?" - Sen. David Vitter

o "Correct." - Mr. Walls

o "Has that happened?" - Sen. David Vitter

o "Never." - Mr. Walls

o "So, it never happened for previous standards. Certainly, we haven't seen any suggestion of it in this process." - Sen. David Vitter

o "To date, no." - Mr. Walls

o "I just want to underscore that point. Certainly, I've demanded that of EPA and those involved. This isn't, you know, a good idea. This isn't a suggestion. This is a legal requirement, correct?" - Sen. David Vitter

o "That's how I read the statute, Senator." - Mr. Walls

Click here to read the entire transcript of the August 22, 2014 field briefing.

Vitter has been urging EPA and its Clean Air Science Advisory Committee (CASAC) 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. Vitter and his colleagues also reached out to states for comments on CASAC's ozone NAAQS review process.

Click here to read Sens. Vitter, Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), and James Inhofe's (R-Okla.) May 14th letter to Michael Vince, President of the Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies.
Click here to read the responses from AAPCA member states.