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Legislation Would Give EPA More Time to Review and Revise Air Quality Standards

WASHINGTON (March 6, 2015) - The American Chemistry Council (ACC) today welcomed the introduction of the Ozone Regulatory Delay and Extension of Assessment Length (ORDEAL) Act by  Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and  Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ) . The bill would give U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) more time to review and revise air quality standards, ensuring a more certain regulatory environment for state air-quality agencies and businesses.

"We applaud Senator Flake and Congressman Salmon for their efforts to bring greater certainty to the regulatory process while protecting public health. Many state agencies need more time to fully implement new air quality standards, while manufacturers with plans to build and expand need sufficient time and guidance to fully understand new rules. The ORDEAL Act is an important step forward, and we urge swift passage by both chambers.

"Forcing states to attempt to meet a lower standard without ample time and consideration could inhibit U.S. manufacturing investment and expansion. In the chemistry industry, companies have begun or announced plans for 225 new projects representing $137 billion in capital spending. The broader economy will benefit as the effects of  abundant, affordable shale gas supplies are felt."

Emissions of common air pollutants and their precursors have fallen substantially , according to EPA. Between 1980 and 2013, total emissions of the six principal air pollutants dropped by 62 percent, even as U.S. gross domestic product grew 145 percent. Voluntary and regulatory programs will continue to reduce ozone concentrations through 2030.

The ORDEAL Act would extend EPA's timeline to review and revise National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) and air quality criteria from five to ten-year intervals. It would also prohibit EPA from finalizing, implementing or enforcing a revised ozone standard until 2019.

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