WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, sent a letter Thursday to Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator of the Office of Air and Radiation at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Thomas Burke, deputy assistant administrator of the Office of Research and Development at the EPA, requesting the agency correct its Draft Integrated Review Plan (Draft IRP) for the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for particulate matter (PM) to properly describe the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee’s (CASAC) statutory responsibilities. The draft IRP, released on April 19, is the roadmap for the entire PM NAAQS review process. The public comment period on the draft IRP closed Thursday, June 23.
“These are mandatory requirements for CASAC to perform. . . If the IRP were to be finalized without an accurate and complete description of CASAC’s statutory authority, CASAC’s involvement in the NAAQS process could be compromised and the EPA Administrator may not be provided the full benefit of CASAC’s expertise, as envisioned by Congress,” Inhofe said in the letter.
Inhofe continued, "Fully and accurately describing CASAC's statutory responsibilities would also address issues raised in a June 2015 report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). According to the GAO report, a senior-level EPA official stated CASAC ‘has never provided advice on adverse social, economic, or energy effects related to NAAQS because to date EPA has not asked CASAC to do so.’. . . Nearly a year since the GAO report and EPA's commitment to "proceed" on this issue, it is evident by the deficient text in the draft IRP that EPA has not taken meaningful steps to ensure CASAC is aware of and performs this statutory charge.”
Inhofe concluded, “It is not acceptable for EPA to unnecessarily delay including a complete and accurate statement of CASAC's statutory responsibilities in the final IRP. Accordingly, in order to ensure that moving forward CASAC is fully informed of its statutory charge and will take steps necessary to fulfill these mandates, EPA should include the CAA Section 109(d)(2)(C) provision in the final IRP.”
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