Sep 01 2015

Fischer Chairs EPW Field Hearing in Columbus, NE

Nebraska Stakeholders Discuss Impact of EPA’s Proposed Ozone Rule

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This morning, U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) chaired a field hearing of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee in Columbus, Nebraska. The hearing focused on the impact of the EPA’s proposed rule to lower the ozone standard for manufacturing and public power utilities. This is the most expensive EPA regulation, ever. Senator Fischer released the following statement after the hearing:

“Nebraskans value clean air and a healthy environment. Rather than seeking a balanced way forward, the EPA is once again putting forth heavy-handed regulations that fall short of improving the lives of the very families they claim to help.

“Today’s hearing makes clear that Nebraskans and families across our nation will suffer as a result of this rule. I will continue to work with Nebraskans and my colleagues in the Senate to advance responsible policies. Together we must protect our environment while also limiting the damage to our economy and Nebraska families.”

Today’s hearing, entitled “Impacts of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Proposed Ozone Standard on Manufacturing and Utilities,” featured testimony from Nebraska stakeholders, including representatives from the manufacturing industry, public power utilities, and small-business community. Witnesses representing these industries included Russ Baker on behalf of the Nebraska Power Association, John Kinter of Nucor Steel Nebraska, Mark Zimmerer, president and CEO of the Norfolk Area Chamber of Commerce, and David Corbin, professor emeritus of the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

The hearing follows a November 2014 proposal by the EPA to reduce the allowable concentration of ground-level ozone from 75 parts per billion (ppb), set in 2008, to between 65 and 70 ppb. This rule would require industrial facilities across the country, including many in Nebraska, to install expensive ozone control equipment, limit production, or buy “offsets.” Any one of these requirements could stifle economic growth and harm Nebraska families.

To halt this rule, Senator Fischer joined Senator John Thune (R-S.D.) in March to introduce The Clean Air, Strong Economies (CASE) Act – a bill that would place reasonable limits on the EPA’s ability to lower the ozone standard. This legislation does not directly bar the EPA from lowering the standard if justified by science. Instead, it requires the EPA to consider compliance, monitoring, real health benefits, costs, and feasibility before moving forward.

Today’s hearing was the second field hearing hosted by Senator Fischer in Nebraska. In March, she hosted a similar hearing of the EPW Committee in Lincoln, where Nebraskans testified about the impact of the EPA’s “waters of the United States” rule.

Click here to view text of Senator Fischer’s opening statement

and here for text of her closing statement. 

Click here to view text of The CASE Act.


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