Western Governors have expressed concern regarding final revisions to the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Exceptional Events Rule, which is now undergoing White House review.
The governors contend that EPA's decision to lower the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for ozone will throw areas in the West into non-attainment status owing to factors outside state control. These factors include wildfire, winter ozone, high winds and geographic factors such as high elevation.
The letter signed by the WGA Chair, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, and Vice Chair, South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard, was sent on Aug. 11, 2016 to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy; Howard A. Shelanski, Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Office of Management and Budget; and Brian C. Deese, Assistant to the President and Senior Adviser
Western Governors acknowledge EPA’s statutory responsibility to propose revisions to the ozone NAAQS: "We recognize the critical importance of maintaining air quality in the West and appreciate the opportunity to work with EPA to achieve this." However, the Governors expressed "significant concerns over the lack of Clean Air Act tools available to account for ozone NAAQS exceedances resulting from factors outside state control."
The Governors previously expressed concern about this issue in comments sent on Feb. 3, 2016 to the EPA, as well as in comments submitted to the agency on March 17, 2015 about the proposed rule, National Ambient Air Quality (NAAQS) Standards for Ozone.