WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), chairman of the EPW Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety, sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt asking him to withdraw a punishing policy known as “once-in-always-in.”

The current EPA policy maintains 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.

In testimony at an EPW committee hearing on Nov. 15, 2017, the “once-in-always-in” policy was identified as needing withdrawal to encourage greater emissions reductions at factories and facilities across the country.

Withdrawing this policy would allow facilities that lower their emissions below the MACT-triggering threshold to invest in modernization and other projects, rather than spend money complying with unnecessary rules.

Read the full letter here and below.

Dear Administrator Pruitt:

We write to request that you rescind a current EPA policy that disincentivizes air emissions reductions.  On November 15, 2017, the Committee held a hearing entitled, “Promoting American Leadership in Reducing Air Emissions Through Innovation.”  In testimony during that hearing, the so-called “once-in-always-in” policy under the Clean Air Act was identified as a policy that discourages emissions reductions. 

The 1995 policy requires a source to comply with stringent emissions standards even if the source later lowers its emissions below the “major source” thresholds that triggered the standards in the first place.  In the enclosed submissions to the November 15th hearing record, the National Association of Manufacturers and the American Coatings Association (ACA) highlighted the practical effects of the policy.  As ACA explains, “resources spent on compliance could be used instead for [research and development], or modernization activities.”

EPA can rescind this policy, which was issued under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act, without any legislative changes.  As the Chairmen of the Committee and Subcommittee of jurisdiction over the Clean Air Act, we request that you incentivize additional hazardous air pollutant emissions reductions by promptly withdrawing this policy.  If you have additional questions about the Committee’s hearing that reviewed this issue, please contact Elizabeth Horner of the Committee’s staff at 202-224-6176.


John Barrasso, M.D.                                                   Shelley Moore Capito

Chairman                                                                    Chairman

Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety

Background Information:

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” as a policy that discourages modernization and emissions reduction efforts.