Congressman Pete Olson

Representing the 22nd District of Texas

Olson Acts to Improve EPA Exceptional Events Review Process

March 4, 2015
Press Release

Washington, DC - Rep. Pete Olson (TX-22) today introduced the Common Sense Legislative Exceptional Events Reform (CLEER) Act to help guarantee that communities are never penalized for pollution outside their control by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). At its core, this bill deals with “exceptional events”, EPA’s term for natural events like wildfires that can spike air pollution in an area and knock them out of compliance with air regulations. Texas and other states' air quality have been impacted by several natural disasters, yet EPA has an unclear, expensive and time-consuming process for reviewing exceptional events applications. Olson has 12 original cosponsors. Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) introduced a similar bill in the Senate yesterday.

"EPA has an obligation to consider exceptional event applications in a timely manner," Rep. Olson stated. "This common sense bill simply allows EPA to work with states to expedite the review process under which dramatic events outside their control are considered. My home State of Texas submitted 10 applications over the last several years, and the vast majority ended up being withdrawn after being bogged down in endless red tape. This common sense solution will clarify the role of EPA and expedite the process, giving states more certainty as they strive to meet air quality goals. I'm pleased to work with Senator Flake to improve this process."

The CLEER Act would require EPA to issue a rulemaking that includes specific and publically-disclosed criteria, developed with the states, on which exceptional events demonstrations will be evaluated (that reflect the varying levels of expertise and resources available at the state and local levels, monitoring data in rural areas, and the need for an expedited approval process). It also would, for the first time, put a time limit on EPA reviews to prevent bureaucratic delay at the Agency. Original cosponsors include: Reps. Mike Pompeo (KS-04), Mike Kelly (PA-03), Jeff Duncan (SC-03), Scott Tipton (CO-03), Brian Babin (TX-36), Matt Salmon (AZ-05), Pete Session (TX-32), Paul Gosar (AZ-04), Stevan Pearce (NM-02), Blake Farenthold (TX-27) Billy Long (MO-07) and Tom McClintock (CA-04).


Media Contact: Melissa Kelly