Leaders of the House Energy & Commerce CommitteeChairman Upton (R-MI) and Reps. Whitfield (R-KY) and Stearns (R-FL) – sent a letter to  Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson asking pointed questions about her voluntary choice to establish more stringent National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ozone as the economy struggles to emerge from the worst recession in a generation. The letter states:

“Your choice to promulgate alternate costly new standards outside of the Clean Air Act’s normal five year review cycle defies common sense. The discretionary basis for such expensive decisions also raises serious questions about the Administration’s priorities at a time when the nation’s focus should be on economic recovery and job creation.”

The lawmakers also stated they will be using the information to prepare for a serious of hearings on the ozone standards after August recess.

Manufacturers are thrilled with the Committee’s plans to hold hearings on the proposed ozone standards which, if set at 60 parts-per-billion, could cost 7.3 million jobs by 2020 and add $1 trillion per year in new regulatory burdens between 2020 and 2030. While the EPA had initially planned to finalize the standard by July 29, significant pressure from the NAM and other industry groups have caused the agency to delay the final standard until sometime in August. We urge manufacturers to take action, and write President Obama in opposition to this completely discretionary new ozone standard that is the most expensive regulation ever proposed by any Administration or Agency.

Alicia Meads is director of energy and resources policy, National Association of Manufacturers