Dear Senators Thune and Manchin:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations, and dedicated to promoting, protecting, and defending America’s free enterprise system, commends you on the introduction of S. 751, the “Clean Air, Strong Economies (CASE) Act.” This bipartisan legislation would improve the rulemaking process involved with the Environmental Protection Agency’s review and setting of National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ground level ozone by requiring better scientific data, more transparency, and considerations of feasibility and economic impact. Specifically, the CASE Act would do the following regarding the EPA’s promulgation of any national primary or secondary ozone NAAQS:
- Prevent the EPA from updating the ozone NAAQS until at least 85% of any counties in “nonattainment,” or not in compliance with the current standard, achieve such compliance;
- Require the EPA to consider the feasibility and economic impacts of any standard, while still keeping its focus on protecting human health;
- Mandate that the EPA use only direct air quality monitoring in designating any counties as being in “nonattainment” with the ozone NAAQS; and
- Obligate the EPA to incorporate into its regulatory impact analysis at least one cost-benefit analysis that includes benefits based solely upon the reduction of ozone.
“Nonattainment” designations under the ozone NAAQS are often viewed as devastating for economic and business development in an area because they lead to permitting delays, restrictions on expansion, increased costs to industry, and adverse impacts on transportation planning. Consequently—as called for by the CASE Act—it is imperative that the EPA consider all relevant factors, use the best scientific data, and be completely transparent in its review and setting of any ozone standard.
The Chamber thanks you for introducing the CASE Act and looks forward to working with you on this important piece of legislation.