Inhofe questions EPA process for beefing up ozone standards
BY JIM MYERS World Washington Bureau
Wednesday, March 09, 2011
3/19/11 at 10:01 AM
WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe accused a federal agency on Tuesday of violating its own process on a much-anticipated revision of ozone standards that could put Tulsa County and others in the state on the so-called dirty-air list.
In a letter to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson, the Oklahoma Republican joined a key House member in expressing concern that the EPA's scientific advisers are using information outside the evidence used to set the current standards.
"This is difficult to square with EPA's assertion that it is basing the reconsideration solely on the 2008 record," stated Inhofe and Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
In what appeared to be an effort to ensure a fair process, the two lawmakers asked Jackson whether the EPA plans to give others, including states, a chance to comment on any new information her agency is compiling.
The EPA announced late last year that it once again was delaying its decision on beefing up ozone standards.
Inhofe, a major player on such issues as the top Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, had welcomed that development.
Previously he had warned that the revision in ozone standards proposed by the EPA would have been devastating to Oklahoma's economy.
In addition to Tulsa County, Inhofe has said Canadian, Cherokee, Comanche, Creek, Kay, Mayes, Oklahoma and Ottawa counties also could end up on the dirty-air list.
Critics of the EPA's move to toughen the standards say areas found out of compliance on ozone, a key component of smog, face challenges in keeping existing industries and recruiting new ones.
The EPA has defended its proposal on ozone, saying it is necessary to protect the public's health. When it announced its latest delay on the new standards, the EPA said it was asking its scientific advisers for further interpretation of studies they used earlier.
The EPA did not comment on the letter from Inhofe and Upton.
Original Print Headline: Inhofe questions EPA actions
Jim Myers 202-484-1424
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe: The Oklahoma Republican joined Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., in expressing concern the EPA is violating its own process in the way it is beefing up ozone standards.