The Democratic governor of Colorado says it would be a good idea for the Environmental Protection Agency to suspend its new regulations for smog-forming ozone.
"So, I think it would be a great idea if they suspended the standard," Gov. John Hickenlooper said Thursday during an oil and gas forum being held in Denver. "I mean, just with the background [ozone emissions], if you're not going to be able to conform to a standard like this, you are leaving the risk or the possibility that there will be penalties of one sort or another that come from your lack of compliance."
Observers say Democratic support by western governors would go a long way to help persuade Democrats in Congress to support passage of a bipartisan bill to delay the EPA rules.
Manufacturers and aligned industry groups have called the oxone standards the most costly in history, which would place many national parks out of compliance. The groups say many states are still trying to comply with the previous round of standards, when EPA ratcheted down the ozone standard from 75 parts per billion to 70 ppb in a final rule made law last year.
"Obviously, no different than any business, states want to have as much predictability as possible, and I think if they suspend the standards, it's not going to slow us down from continuing to try and make our air cleaner," Hickenlooper said.
The governor said his state is going to keep moving to improve the air quality in the state every year, but "to be punitive when you're working as hard as you can … to get cleaner air as rapidly as you can, it seems like it's not the most constructive stance."
The ozone rules are currently being challenged in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.