Environmentalists urge NY House members to oppose “Smoggy Skies Act”

A slew of environmental groups have urged New York’s 27 members of the House of Representatives to reject a bill they say would worsen air pollution by forcing the federal government to consider at the outset how much it would cost businesses to comply with new emission standards.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee approved the Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2017 in a 29-24 vote on June 28, clearing the way for a potential vote by the full House once it returns from its July 4 recess on Monday. Environmental groups have dubbed it the “Smoggy Skies Act.”

“We believe this bill represents a sweeping attack on the public health underpinnings of the Clean Air Act, and we request you speak out against and vote ‘No’ on this bill,” read a June 14 letter to New York’s House members, signed by representatives of the Sierra Club and 32 other organizations.

The Energy and Commerce Committee has said the bill would delay implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2015 ozone emission standards until 2025 and let states “pursue cost-effective and practical implementation” of them. Manufacturers, who had sued over the new standards, have praised the bill.

New York has 18 Democrats – including Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney of Cold Spring – and nine Republicans – including Rep. John Faso of Kinderhook – in its delegation. Maloney opposed the same legislation last year when the House approved it in a largely party-line vote. Faso was not in Congress then, and is not among its 22 current co-sponsors or on the committee that approved the bill last month. His predecessor, Chris Gibson, also a Republican, voted against the bill last year.

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