EPA walks back 2018 implementation delay of Obama ozone pollution rule.

September 1, 2017

The Trump administration is reversing course on its plan to delay by one year enforcement of the Obama administration’s ozone pollution regulation, according to an August 3, 2017 report from The Hill.United States Environmental Protection Agency

The reversal, announced by EPA  August 2nd, 2017, came a day after 15 states and the District of Columbia sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), saying the delay exceeded the agency’s authority under the Clean Air Act. Environmental groups filed a similar lawsuit last month.

In a statement announcing the decision, the EPA emphasized that it will continue to work with states on implementing the ozone rule, which could include more targeted enforcement delays.

“We believe in dialogue with, and being responsive to, our state partners,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said in the statement. “Today’s action reinforces our commitment to working with the states through the complex designation process.”

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D), who led the states’ lawsuit against the delay, said in a statement that he’ll keep fighting, if needed, to implement the ozone regulation. “Our coalition of attorneys general will continue to take the legal action necessary to protect the people we serve — including making sure the EPA finalizes the designations by October 1, as required by the Clean Air Act,” he said.

Pruitt in June announced that the EPA would push back by one year its planned October 2017 decisions on which areas to label as being in attainment with the 2015 ozone regulation. That rule lowered the amount of ground-level ozone — a component of smog linked to respiratory ailments — to 70 parts per billion, from the previous 75.

Pruitt justified the delay by invoking a section of the Clean Air Act that allowed such delays if the EPA does not have sufficient information to make attainment decisions. The agency said in a Federal Register notice due to be published in the coming days that it misunderstood how much information it had to make attainment decisions.

The EPA is still reviewing the 2015 ozone rule for potential changes or repeal. Pruitt had sued the EPA to get the rule overturned while in his previous job as Oklahoma’s attorney general.

What this means to you.
EPA has backed off its plan to delay implementation by one year of Obama ozone regulation from 75 to 70 parts per billion. EPA is still reviewing the rule for potential changes or repeal but emphasized it will continue to work with states in implementing the rule.

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