Sen. Carper Responds to Senate Letter to EPA Regarding Air Quality Standard; Reacts to EPA Decision to Delay Standard’s Release

WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Clean Air, responded to a Senate letter urging the U.S. Environmental and Protection Agency (EPA) to not finalize its proposed air quality standards for ground level ozone. He also responded to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s decision to delay the release of the new air quality standard. Sen. Carper’s statement follows:

“Our current ozone standard was put into place in 1997 and is outdated, ineffective and inadequate. Both the Bush and the Obama Administrations have concluded that this standard fails to sufficiently protect public health. Failing to update this ozone standard would continue to leave thousands of Delawareans – and millions of Americans – vulnerable to the harmful effects of ozone air pollution. Failing to update the ozone standard also creates challenges for states. This outdated standard leaves states in limbo about what requirements they need to meet and forces states to continue to postpone the significant decisions that need to be made to clean up our air.

“EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has told me and others that the pending lawsuit brought by 14 states and other environmental groups was too strong for her agency to fight. Instead of wasting taxpayer resources to fight a lawsuit, the EPA has worked with the courts and the petitioners on a time line for a new rule. Both the petitioners and courts have been very lenient in giving the agency additional time to finalize the ozone standard. Failure to finalize this standard would likely result in the EPA being quickly and successfully sued, which would take away the agency’s ability to work with states to give them the flexibility they need to meet these requirements. The lawsuit will also likely require tighter timetables for implementation.

“I do not believe that we can continue to delay on this matter. I urge the EPA to move quickly to finalize its plans for the new ozone air quality standard so that our nation can finally move forward to make the ozone reductions we need to achieve cleaner, healthier air.”