Rutledge Statement on EPA’s Decision to Delay Ozone Rule Implementation
June 7, 2017
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today released a statement after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it would give states more time to comply with the National Ambient Air Quality Standards, an ozone regulation issued in 2015. Administrator Scott Pruitt today sent a letter to governors informing them that the EPA is extending the deadline for promulgating initial area designations by one year.
“Administrator Pruitt has made the right decision by extending this initial deadline for the states,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Arkansans take great pride in our clean air and the State has continually improved its air quality, but the burdensome and costly ozone regulation makes compliance nearly impossible while placing great financial strain on small, rural communities.”
The National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ground-level ozone is an outdoor air regulation under the Clean Air Act. As part of the process to determine what areas of the country are able to meet the current air quality standards, states are submitting their proposals for area designations. Areas designated as being in “nonattainment” of the standard face serious consequences, including: increased regulatory burdens, stiff federal penalties, lost highway dollars, restrictions on infrastructure investment and increased costs to businesses.
Rutledge challenged the new ozone regulation in a lawsuit filed in October of 2015, along with Arizona, North Dakota, Oklahoma and the New Mexico Environmental Department.