House lawmakers passed a bill designed to delay the implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency’s costliest regulation yet, in a 234-177 vote Wednesday.
The Ozone Standards Implementation Act, spearheaded by Republican Rep. Pete Olson of Texas, would delay the Obama administration’s stricter smog standards by eight years. The legislation, which received strong support from GOP lawmakers and business groups, would also require the agency to evaluate its criteria for air pollutants every 10 years instead of five.
“Ultimately, we must recognize that sometimes regulations don’t need to be changed to improve air quality,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said in a statement. “In my district in the Central Valley in California, we’ve already made remarkable progress, but the Obama Administration is trying to move the goal posts and impose new fines.”
The EPA announced in 2015 it would be increasing smog limits from 75 parts per billion to 70 parts per billion – a change critics say could straggle the economy. A study by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) estimates it could cost up to $1.7 trillion dollars and kill 1.4 million jobs in the U.S.
NAM applauded the lower chamber for passing the legislation, saying businesses are already struggling to keep up with the current restrictions.
“Manufacturers across the United States have shown that environmental progress and economic growth can go hand in hand, but this regulation moves us further from that goal,” the group said in a statement. “Manufacturers now call on the Senate to bring an ozone implementation relief bill to the floor for passage,”
The White House said the president will veto the legislation should it hit his desk.
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