Tuesday, July 31, 2012

House Subcommittee Forums On Clean Air Act Issues

Jul 31: Representative Ed Whitfield (R-KY), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Energy and Power, announced bipartisan forums on today (July 31), and on Thursday, August 2, to examine state, local, and Federal cooperation in the Clean Air Act. The forums are intended to provide an opportunity for members of Congress to hear a broad range of perspectives from experts about their experiences in implementing the Clean Air Act.

    Rep. Whitfield said, "During my time as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy and Power, we have had numerous hearings on specific rules under the Clean Air Act and we have passed a number of bills relating to those rules. The goal of these forums is not to talk about legislation or focus on any specific rule or provision of the Act, but rather to foster a broad, bipartisan discussion about the law. We will hear from experts who live with this Act every day, about their experience implementing the law and coordinating with the various levels of government that share responsibility for our nation's air quality."

    Today's forum began at 2:00 PM. The participants for today's meeting included representatives from: Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality; Indiana Department of Environmental Management; New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services; South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control; Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG); Imperial County Air Pollution Control District; Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency; and Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Additionally, a brief statement was submitted by a number of environmental groups including: Center for Biological Diversity; Conservation Law Foundation; Earthjustice; League of Conservation Voters; Natural Resources Defense Council; Sierra Club; and US Climate Action Network. Thursday's forum will also begin at 2:00 PM and includes representative from: AZ, TX, South Coast Air Quality Management District, DE, Dayton Regional Air Pollution Control Agency; OH, and Southern Ute Indian Tribe.

    Participant were requested to respond to a list of 6 questions including:

  • In your agency's experience implementing the Clean Air Act (CAA), what is working well? What is not working well?
  • Do state and local governments have sufficient autonomy and flexibility to address local conditions and needs?
  • Does the current system balance federal, state, and tribal roles to provide timely, accurate permitting for business activities, balancing environment protection and economic growth?
  • Does the CAA support a reasonable and effective mechanism for federal, state, tribal and local cooperation through State Implementation Plans? How could the mechanism be improved?
  • Are cross-state air pollution issues coordinated well under the existing framework?
  • Are there other issues, ideas or concerns relating to the role of federalism under the CAA that you would like to discuss?

    Access the Forum website and link to the today's Participant responses, the environmental group statement, and a video at the conclusion (click here). Access a list of Participants and responses for the August 2 Forum (click here). [#Air, #MIAir]

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