House of Representatives Votes to Delay Lifesaving Ozone Standard, Gut Clean Air Act

Bill attacks public health protections for smog, lead, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and other dangerous pollutants


Jessica Hodge, Advocacy Communications Manager, (202) 745-5201


Terry McGuire, Senior Legislative Representative, (202) 745-5210

Today, the Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives continued its attacks on our bedrock environmental laws and safeguards by passing H.R. 4775, the misleadingly-named “Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2015.” If signed into law, this legislation would actually delay by 8 years implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recently-finalized strengthening of the smog, or ground-level ozone, standard. EPA’s update to the smog standard was already long-overdue and, when fully implemented, will help drive down dangerous air pollution that threatens the health of all Americans. These protections are particularly important to the health of sensitive populations like children, seniors and people with breathing ailments like asthma.

In addition to delaying smog protections, the bill’s supporters go even further by seeking to gut core tenets of the Clean Air Act, including EPA’s responsibility to review the standards in a timely fashion in light of updates in science and medicine. The bill also seeks to undermine the science-based approach the Clean Air Act has taken for over 40 years by allowing polluters’ compliance costs to be considered when EPA establishes public health standards. These changes would weaken protections the Clean Air Act provides against a suite of dangerous pollutants beyond ozone, including carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter, and even toxic lead.

The following is a statement from Terry McGuire, Senior Legislative Representative at Earthjustice:

“This is more of the same from House Leadership. So while today’s vote is not surprising, it is most definitely shameful. If enacted, this bill would jeopardize our collective public health by delaying cleanup of dangerous smog pollution and would endanger future generations by weakening the successful and historically bipartisan Clean Air Act. With 1 in 10 children in our country suffering from asthma, we all know someone affected by the House’s vote today. Members will have to answer to their constituents on why they opted side with polluters at the expense of their constituents’ public health. We applaud those that stood on the side of clean air today and we thank President Obama for his promise to veto this misguided bill should it reach his desk.”

Members of the California Nurses Association march to a rally outside the EPA ozone hearing in Sacramento, CA, on February 2, 2015.
Members of the California Nurses Association march to a rally outside the EPA's public hearing on updating ozone protections, in Sacramento, CA, on February 2, 2015. (Chris Jordan-Bloch / Earthjustice)

Additional Resources

About Earthjustice

Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit environmental law organization. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people's health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change. We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.