The American Petroleum Institute (API) and a coalition of 146 associations and businesses representing a broad cross-section of U.S. industries signed a letter sent today to Congressional leadership affirming strong support for the Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2017. The House is scheduled to vote on the bill later today.


“The Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2017 can give state and local regulators sufficient time and flexibility to implement EPA’s new ozone standards,” said API Senior Director for Regulatory and Scientific Affairs Howard Feldman. “We urge members of the House to pass this legislation that maintains our national commitment to protecting public health and reducing emissions as it helps the U.S. continue to secure the economic, jobs and consumer benefits of the natural gas and oil industry.”


U.S. air pollutants have fallen by 71% between 1970 and 2015 while increased use of domestic natural gas has helped reduce ozone concentrations in the air by 17% since 2005. Ambient ozone levels are declining and have done so without implementation of the more restrictive 2015 standards, according to a recent report. Behind this is an industry investment of more than $321 billion that has improved the environmental performance of its products, facilities and operations between 1990 and 2015. Methane emissions are falling, and aggregate national emissions of six common air pollutants have fallen an average of 62% since 1980.


“The data are clear, industry is invested in environmental protection and progress,” said Feldman. “API is committed to working with Congress and EPA to continue improvements to air quality through smart legislation and regulations and achievable timelines.”


In the letter, API and 145 other organizations state that the Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2017, introduced by Representative Pete Olson (R-Texas), recognizes ongoing state efforts to improve air quality, streamlines the air permitting process for businesses to expand operations and create jobs, and includes other reforms that bring more regulatory certainty to federal air quality standards. Additionally, the signatories support language including certain elements of H.R. 806 and S. 263, the Senate companion bill, included in the Fiscal Year 2018 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations bill.


The natural gas and oil industry urged passage of legislation last year that improves implementation of the ozone standards and can help local economies and ensure job security.


API is the only national trade association representing all facets of the oil and natural gas industry, which supports 9.8 million U.S. jobs and 8% of the U.S. economy.