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H.R. 806 (115th): Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2017

H.R. 806 seeks to facilitate more efficient implementation of ozone standards, and the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) program generally. Key provisions would:

  • Phase in implementation of the 2015 ozone standards by extending the date for final designations from 2017 to 2025, and aligning permitting requirements;
  • Revise the time for mandatory review of NAAQS from five to ten years, while allowing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator discretion to issue revised standards earlier;
  • Authorize the EPA Administrator to consider technological feasibility, as a secondary consideration, when establishing or revising NAAQS;
  • Direct the EPA Administrator to obtain advice from the agency’s scientific advisory committee regarding potential adverse effects prior to revising NAAQS, as required by Section 109 of the Clean Air Act;
  • Direct the EPA Administrator to issue implementation regulations and guidance concurrently when revising NAAQS, including with respect to permitting requirements;
  • Ensure that for certain ozone and particulate matter nonattainment areas, States are not required to include economically infeasible measures in their implementation plans;
  • Revise the definition of exceptional events under Section 319 of the Clean Air Act to include droughts and extraordinary stagnation; and
  • Direct EPA to submit two reports to Congress including (i) a report regarding the impacts of foreign emissions on NAAQS compliance and related matters; and (ii) a report regarding ozone formation and effective control strategies.
  • Limit the applicability of particular sanctions and fees on certain ozone and particulate matter nonattainment areas if States demonstrate the reason for nonattainment is for emissions beyond the States’ regulatory control.
Last updated Jul 21, 2017. Source: Republican Policy Committee

The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Jul 18, 2017.

(This measure has not been amended since it was reported to the House on July 14, 2017. The summary of that version is repeated here.)

Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2017

This bill amends the Clean Air Act to revise the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) program.

(Sec. 2) The bill delays the implementation of the ozone NAAQS that were published in 2015. The bill extends until: (1) October 26, 2024, the deadline for states to submit designations to implement the 2015 ozone NAAQS; and (2) October 26, 2025, the deadline for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to designate state areas as attainment, nonattainment, or unclassifiable areas with respect to the 2015 ozone NAAQS. States must submit a state implementation plan (SIP) by October 26, 2026, to implement, maintain, and enforce the 2015 ozone NAAQS.

The bill exempts from the 2015 ozone standards certain preconstruction permit applications that were completed or submitted before a final designation was made.

(Sec. 3) The bill also changes the review cycle for criteria pollutant NAAQS from a 5-year review cycle to a 10-year review cycle. The EPA may not complete its next review of ozone NAAQS before October 26, 2025.

The EPA may consider, as a secondary consideration, likely technological feasibility in establishing and revising NAAQS for a pollutant if a range of air quality levels for such pollutant are requisite to protect public health with an adequate margin of safety.

Prior to establishing or revising NAAQS, the EPA must obtain advice from its scientific advisory committee regarding potential adverse public health, welfare, social, economic, or energy effects which may result from attaining and maintaining NAAQS.

The EPA must publish regulations and guidance for implementing NAAQS concurrently with the issuance of a new or revised standard. New or revised NAAQS shall not apply to preconstruction permits for constructing or modifying a stationary source of air pollutants until those regulations and guidance have been published.

The bill provides that in Extreme Ozone Nonattainment Areas, contingency measures are not required to be included in nonattainment plans. Technological achievability and economic feasibility must be taken into consideration in plan revisions for milestones for particulate matter nonattainment areas.

The bill redefines "exceptional events," by including stagnation of air masses that are not ordinarily occurring.

The EPA must: (1) report on foreign emissions and their impact on compliance with the NAAQS program in the United States, (2) study and report on the atmospheric formation of ozone and effective control strategies, and (3) incorporate the results of the study into rules and guidance implementing the 2015 ozone standards.

(Sec. 4) The bill exempts states from sanctions or fees for nonattainment or deficiency relating to certain ozone and particulate matter if the state can demonstrate specified circumstances preventing attainment. This exemption shall not affect any obligation of states or localities under the Clean Air Act to attain a NAAQS for ozone or particulate matter.

(Sec. 6) The bill specifies that no additional funds are authorized for carrying out the requirements of this bill.