EPA has proposed a rule to lower national ozone standards from 75 parts per billion to between 65 and 70 parts per billion. Numerous business groups are urging the White House to leave the standard at the current level.
The House version of the Fiscal Year 2016 Interior-EPA appropriations bill contains a provision prohibiting the use of any funds for implementing or enforcing a new ozone standard until at least 85 percent of the counties that were in nonattainment areas under the existing standard as of July 2, 2014, have achieved full compliance with the existing standard. The Administration has promised to veto the bill due to the inclusion of the environmental riders and reductions in funding for the EPA.
On Thursday, July 9, House Republicans pulled the EPA spending bill after Southerners revolted over language that would have barred displays of the Confederate flag at federal cemeteries. The bill could now be sidelined until the fall when attention may turn to a continuing resolution or omnibus spending bill to prevent a government shutdown.