The measure delays by eight more years the implementation of 2015 air pollution standards issued by the EPA under the prior administration
The Longview Power Plant is seen Thursday, July 6, 2017, in Maidsville, West Virginia. Operators of the coal-burning plant, a new plant that began producing power in 2011, report higher efficiency and lower emissions than other U.S. coal-fired power plants. (AP Photo/Michael Virtanen), photo: AP/Michael Virtanen
18 of July 2017 18:32:02
WASHINGTON – The House voted Tuesday to pass a Republican-backed bill delaying implementation of Obama-era reductions in smog-causing air pollutants.Lawmakers voted 229 to 199 to approve the Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2017. The measure delays by eight more years the implementation of 2015 air pollution standards issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the prior administration.The bill also makes key technical changes that environmentalists say will weaken the Clean Air Act, including switching the EPA's mandated review of air quality standards from every five years to every 10. Ground-level ozone can cause breathing problems among sensitive groups, causing thousands of premature deaths each year.
Primary sponsor Rep. Pete Olson, a Texas Republican, praised the progress made in cleaning up the nation's air since the 1970s, when choking blankets of smog regularly blanketed U.S. cities. But he said the stricter standards approved by Obama's EPA would force U.S. companies to invest billions in new pollution reduction measures."This bill keeps us moving forward toward cleaner air," said Olson, whose Houston-area district depends on the oil and gas industry. "This bill is about listening to job creators back home."Democrats countered that the GOP bill, which they derided as the "Smoggy Skies Act," would cost lives through increased rates of asthma and lung disease while endangering decades of hard-won progress in cleaning up the environment."This is a blueprint to Make America Sick Again," said Rep. Gerald Connolly, a Virginia Democrat, mocking the Trump campaign slogan.
API and a business coalition of more than 140 organizations call on Congress to pass ozone relief legislation https://t.co/aK2kMbyYa3— API (@API_News) 18 de julio de 2017
Ground-level ozone is created when common pollutants emitted by cars, power plants, oil refineries, chemical plants and other sources react in the atmosphere to sunlight. The National Ambient Air Quality Standards adopted by EPA in 2015 reduced the allowed amount of ground-level ozone from 75 parts per billion to 70 parts per billion.EPA estimated at the time that the $1.4 billion it would cost to meet the stricter standards would be far outweighed by billions saved from fewer emergency room visits and other public health gains.The agency cited recent studies showing ozone at 72 parts per billion is harmful to healthy adults exercising outdoors. Children are at increased risk because their lungs are still developing and they are more likely to be active outdoors when ozone levels are high, the agency said.EPA projected that the "vast majority" of U.S. counties would meet the stricter standards by 2025 under state and federal rules and programs then underway. Many of those clean-air initiatives are now in the crosshairs of regulatory rollbacks and budget cuts championed by the Trump administration.
The House Majority's latest dirty air bill is social-Darwinism at its worst and a blueprint to Make America Sick Again. pic.twitter.com/Bv3U6k4hF9— Gerry Connolly (@GerryConnolly) 18 de julio de 2017