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S. 638 (114th): Commonsense Legislative Exceptional Events Reforms Act of 2015

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Mar 3, 2015.

Commonsense Legislative Exceptional Events Reforms Act of 2015

This bill amends the Clean Air Act to revise the requirements for regulations that govern the review and handling of air quality monitoring data influenced by exceptional events. (The Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] may exclude monitored exceedances of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards from consideration when designating an area as nonattainment, redesignating an area as nonattainment, or reclassifying an existing nonattainment area to a higher classification if a state demonstrates that an exceptional event caused the exceedances.)

The criteria used to determine if an exceptional event was demonstrated must be specific in order to minimize the discretion of the EPA in approving or disapproving the demonstration.

The EPA must make a determination within 90 days after the submission of a petition by a state of an exceptional event demonstration. The demonstration is approved if the EPA does not make a determination by that deadline.

A determination must be based on a preponderance of the evidence and give substantial deference to the findings of the state exceptional event demonstration. An appeal process for reviewing a disapproval of a demonstration is established.