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Ted Steichen's Testimony on Clean Air Act Section 176A Petition

As Prepared for Delivery

Ted Steichen, Senior Policy Advisor
American Petroleum Institute
Public Hearing on the Response to December 9, 2013, Clean Air Act Section 176A Petition
from Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont
April 13, 2017

API appreciates this opportunity to comment on EPA’s proposed response to deny the subject Clean Air Act Section 176A Petition.

API represents over 625 oil and natural gas companies, leaders of a technology-driven industry that supplies most of America’s energy, supports more than 9.8 million jobs and 8 percent of the U.S. economy, and, since 2000, has invested nearly $2 trillion in U.S. capital projects to advance all forms of energy, including alternatives.

First, let me emphasize the dramatic improvement in air quality that continues as the previous air quality controls are implemented. For example ground level ozone in the U.S. declined by 17 percent between 2000 and 2015, according to EPA data. In the Fact Sheet released with the 2015 Ozone NAAQS Rule, EPA stated that Agency analyses show the vast majority of U.S. counties will meet the standards by 2025 just with federal and state rules and programs in place or underway prior to the 2015 NAAQS. Clearly the states, tribes and businesses are successfully implementing the ozone standards and API supports the protection of public health. Of course, the NAAQS process should be further streamlined to reduce burdens on states and businesses, but those comments are for a different venue.

Second, API supports EPA’s proposed denial of the subject 2013 Clean Air Act Section 176A Petition. API agrees with EPA that it is not necessary to expand the Ozone Transport Region (“OTR”) by adding nine additional states. API members would be impacted as they operate multiple refining and petrochemical manufacturing facilities in this proposed expansion area. The additional requirements that would be imposed through the petitioned expansion are not necessary for downwind states’ attainment with the 2008 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard or (“NAAQS”), and could only serve to increase compliance costs for states, citizens, and businesses, including API members operating in these states.

API agrees with EPA that other Clean Air Act provisions can provide better alternatives for states and the EPA to develop targeted remedies to address interstate ozone. API further agrees with the Agency that states and the EPA have historically addressed ozone issues and the interstate transport of ozone pollution using these other CAA authorities to implement those emissions reductions the regulators deemed necessary. API supports EPA assertion that applying these past practices will be able to successfully address interstate transport of ozone with respect to the 2008 ozone NAAQS.

EPA has promulgated several rules that reduce the transport of ozone/ozone precursors and help address any remaining OTR nonattainment issues with the 2008 Ozone NAAQS. These actions include the NOx SIP Call, the Cross States Air Pollution Rule and its October 26, 2016 Update, the 2015 Ozone NAAQS and numerous other emissions standards and rules.

API appreciates EPA’s careful consideration and determination that these other tools are adequate. EPA’s proposed action will prevent additional administrative burden for the nine targeted states and unnecessary controls on sources in those states. API requests EPA to continue to first utilize the historically effective tools to address interstate transport and avoid expanding the OTR.

API will provide written comments that further describe why EPA’s preferred option to deny this Clean Air Act Section 176A Petition is appropriate and also highlight that it would be burdensome on many sources with little or any benefit to the downwind states to meet the 2008 Ozone NAAQS.

In closing, air quality progress continues and EPA has rightly concluded that expanding the OTR is not necessary. Again, we thank EPA for the opportunity to comment.