Clean Air Act and Related Issues - 114th Congress (2015-2016)

Additional Notable Bills

CLEER Act (S. 638 & H.R. 1320)

Background

Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) introduced S. 638 – the Commonsense Legislative Exceptional Events Reform (CLEER) Act – on March 3, 2015.  The bill would revise EPA’s exceptional events rule so that states and localities are not considered to be in violation of NAAQS due to exceptional events and so that EPA would be required to make a decision within 90 days regarding whether or not an air quality violation is an exceptional event.  The Senate Enviroment and Public Works Committee held a hearing on EPA's ozone NAAQS and S. 638 and several other bills on June 3, 2015.  A companion to S. 638 – H.R.1320 – was introduced in the House by Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX) on March 4, 2015.    

Key Actions

June 3, 2015 – The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee convened "Challenges and Implications of EPA's Proposed NAAQS for Ground-Level Ozone and Legislative Hearing on S. 638, S. 751 and S. 640."

March 4, 2105 – A companion bill to S. 638 – H.R.1320 – was introduced in the House by Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX).
March 3, 2015 – S. 638, the Commonsense Legislative Exceptional Events Reform (CLEER) Act, was introduced by Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ).  Comprehensive information on the bill is available here.

 

Wasteful EPA Programs Elimination Act (H.R. 2111)

Background

Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX) introduced H.R. 2111, the Wasteful EPA Programs Elimination Act, on August 18, 2015.  H.R. 2111 would eliminate all EPA grant programs; prohibit the use of EPA funds to implement any new ozone standard; eliminate funding for many climate and greenhouse gas (GHG) programs (including to regulate GHGs from mobile sources and fossil fuel-fired electric generating units); terminate environmental justice programs and the National Clean Diesel Campaign; and eliminate EPA Regional Offices.

Key Actions

August 18, 2105 – H.R. 2111, the Wasteful EPA Programs Elimination Act, was introduced by Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX).

 

SENSE Act (H.R. 3797)

Background

H.R. 3797, the Satisfying Energy Needs and Saving the Environment (SENSE) Act, was approved by the House of Representatives on March 15, 2016 by a vote of 231 to 183.  The bill, introduced by Rep. Keith Rothfus on October 22, 2015, would ease requirements for power plants fueled by coal refuse by modifying the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule to allocate additional SO2 allowances to coal refuse-to-energy facilities and the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards to provide for alternative compliance options with respect to SO2 and hydrogen chloride emissions standards.  On March 14, 2016, the White House issued a Statement of Administration Policy expressing strong opposition to H.R. 3797 and indicating that if the bill were presented to the President his senior advisors would recommend that he veto it.

Key Actions

March 15, 2016  The House of Representatives approved H.R. 3797 by a vote of 231 to 183. 

March 14, 2016 – The White House issued a Statement of Administration Policy indicating that if the President were presented with H.R. 3797 his senior advisors would recommend that he veto it.

March 7, 2016 H.R. 3797 was reported by the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

February 25, 2016  The House Energy and Commerce Committee approved H.R. 3797 by a vote of 29 to 22.

February 12, 2016  The  House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power forwarded H.R. 3797 to the full committee by voice vote. 

February 3, 2016  The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power held a hearing on two bills, including H.R. 3797.

October 22, 2015  H.R. 3797, the Satisfying Energy Needs and Saving the Environment (SENSE) Act, was introduced by Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-PA).

 

Federal Information Systems Safeguard Act (H.R. 4361)

Background

On July 6, 2016, the House or Representatives approved  by a vote of 241 to 181  H.R. 4361, the Federal Information Systems Safeguard Act.  The bill as approved, which was originally introduced on January 11, 2016 by Rep. Gary Palmer (R-AL), incorporates the provisions of H.R. 4612, the Midnight Rule Relief Act, to prohibit federal agencies from proposing or finalizing "major" rules from the day after a presidential election through inauguration day (January 20 of the following year).

Key Actions

July 6, 2016  The House approved H.R. 4361 by a vote of 241 to 181; the bill as approved incorporates the provisions of H.R. 4612, the Midnight Rule Relief Act (proposed by Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI) on February 25, 2016.

July 5, 2016 – The White House issued a Statement of Administration Policy objecting to H.R. 4361, including, among others, provisions to prohibit federal agencies from proposing or finalizing "major" rules from the day after a presidential election through inauguration day (January 20 of the following year).  If the President is presented with this bill, his senior advisors will recommend that he veto it.

March 1, 2016  The House and Government Reform Committee voted in favor of H.R. 4361 by a vote of 21 to 16. 

January 11, 2016  H.R. 4361, the Federal Information Systems Safeguard Act, was introduced by Rep. Gary Palmer (R-AL).

 

CLEAN-UP Act (S. 2603 & H.R. 4630)

Background

Senator Edward Markey (D-MA) introduced S. 2603, the Compensating Losses to the Environment from Automobiles with Noxious Undisclosed Pollution (CLEAN-UP) Act on February 25, 2016.  A House version of the CLEAN-UP Act, H.R. 4630, was introduced by Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL). The bill which comes in response to Volkswagen's illegal use of defeat devices, would deny Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) credits to any automaker than circumvents emissions standards and would also allow the Department of Transportation to collect additional penalties from automakers that fraudulently obtain CAFE credits.  In addition, the CLEAN-UP Act would establish an Air Quality Restoration Fund that would make funds available for programs that restore and improve air quality, including ones to increase electric drive vehicle infrastructure; retrofit or replace school buses or heavy-duty fleets to reduce emissions; purchase electric drive vehicles for municipal fleets; provide public health grants to track, treat and reduce air pollution-related illnesses; and provide grants for projects to improve air quality in low-income communities.

Key Actions

February 25, 2016  S. 2603, the the Compensating Losses to the Environment from Automobiles with Noxious Undisclosed Pollution (CLEAN-UP) Act, was introduced by Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA). A House version of the CLEAN-UP Act, H.R. 4630, was introduced by Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL).

 

No Lead in the Air Act (H.R. 4675)

Background

House Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) introduced H,R, 4675, the No Lead in the Air Act, on February 29, 2016.  The bill calls upon the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administraton, in consultation with the EPA Administrator, to issue regulations to prohibit the use of leaded fuel by aircraft operating within U.S. airspace beginning January 1, 2021.

Key Actions

February 29, 2016  H.R. 4675, the No Lead in the Air Act, was introduced by House Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) to lan lead in aviation fuel.

 

RPM Act (H.R. 4715 & S. 2659)

Background

Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) introduced H.R. 4715, the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports (RPM) Act, on March 7, 2016 "to exlude vehicles used solely for competition from certain provisions of the Clean Air Act."  Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) introduced a companion bill, S. 2659, by the same name in the Senate on March 9, 2016.

Key Actions

March 15, 2016 – The House Science Subcommittee on Oversight held a hearing on this bill and the issue to which it relates, Racing to Regulate: EPA's Latest Overreach on Amateur Drivers.

March 9, 2016  S. 2659, The Senate version of the RMP Act was introduced by Senator Richard Burr (R-NC).

March 7, 2016  H.R. 4715, the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports (RPM) Act, was introduced by Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC).

 

End Executive Overreach Act (H.R. 4956)

Background

Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), joined by nearly 80 Republican co-sposnsors, introduced H.R. 4956, the End Executive Overrach Act, on April 15, 2016, to prohibit the use of any federal funds, fees or resources to implement executive orders issued on or after the date of enactment of this Act until January 21, 2017.  During the same time period, H.R. 4956 would also suspend the rulemaking authority of federal agencies by preventing work on or finalization of any "major" rules.

Key Actions

April 15, 2016 H.R.  4956, the End Executive Overrach Act, was introduced by Rep. Tom Price (R-GA).

 

DERA 2016 (S. 2816)

Background

Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) introduced S. 2816, the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) of 2016 on April 19, 2016, to extend funding for the Diesel Emission Reduction Program until 2021; it is currently set to expire this year.  The bill would authorize funding at $100 million a year.  DERA, first authorized in 2005, is voluntary program that leverages federal funds to provide incentives to vehicle owners and businesses to replace or retrofit old diesel engines.  The provisions of this bill were also added, via an amendment (S.A. 3143) introduced by Senator Carper, to S. 2012, the Energy Policy Modernization Act, which was approved by the Senate this week.  H.R. 2816 is cosponsored by Senators James Inhofe (R-OK) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman and Ranking Member, respectively, of the EPW Committee, and Shelley Moore Capitol (R-WV), Chairman of the Clean Air Subcommittee. A House companion bill, H.R. 5913, was introduced on July 18, 2016 by Reps. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) and Doris Matsui (D-CA).

Key Actions

September 8, 2016 – NACAA, as part of a coalition that also includes industry groups and environmental and public health organizations, co-signed a letter to to 67 House Republicans thanking them for their support of continued appropriations for the DERA and asking them to cosponsor H.R. 5913, a bipartisan bill to reauthorize DERA for another five years. 

July 18, 2016 – DERA 2016 was introduced in the House - H.R. 5913 - by Reps. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) and Doris Matsui (D-CA)/

May 18, 2016 – The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved S. 2816 by voice vote.

April 20, 2016 – The Senate approved S. 2012, the Energy Policy Modernization Act, which includes the provisions of DERA (added to S. 2012 via an amendment - S.A. 3143 - introduced by Senator Carper).

April 19, 2016 S. 2816, the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) of 2016, was introduced by Senator Tom Carper.