WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce highlights how the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed Particulate Matter (PM2.5) air quality standards will cause permitting gridlock across the American economy.
The report includes analysis about the impact of the 2023 wildfire season on particulate matter emissions, which was not examined by EPA. Fires alone are responsible for 43% of PM2.5 emissions, but are difficult for counties to abate. Due to the severity of the 2023 wildfire season, the number of U.S. counties out of compliance with EPA’s likely new rule would increase by 50%, which would result in strict new penalties on American businesses—large and small—and their communities.
“From requiring small businesses, like restaurants, to install costly equipment and homeowners to replace wood fireplaces with natural gas logs, to mandating states to pave any unpaved roads, this rule will have profound impacts economy-wide,” said Chad Whiteman, Vice President of Environment and Regulatory Affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Energy Institute. “We strongly urge the Administration to consider the unintended consequences and unnecessary burdens this discretionary rule would place on American businesses—especially considering fires are the main PM2.5 source,” “This rule would increase costs and further worsen inflationary impacts of doing business in the U.S.—threatening the economy and putting American jobs at risk.”
The report also indicates that EPA’s discretionary rule would lower PM2.5 standards to a level that threatens investment in manufacturing, and critical infrastructure projects, many stemming from programs under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the CHIPS and Science Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act.
The report outlines the potential impacts of placing as much as 30% of all U.S. counties in permitting gridlock, including:
· Blocking the permitting of new manufacturing facilities and associated good-paying jobs, pushing investment overseas.
· Preventing the construction of roads, bridges, and other infrastructure funded by the bipartisan infrastructure bill that would ease congestion.
· Requiring mitigation efforts from homeowners, restaurants, and small businesses
· Placing burden on the private sector despite fires being the main PM2.5 emissions source.
U.S. Chamber President and CEO Suzanne Clark joined over 70 industry association leaders in a letter urging EPA to maintain existing NAAQS for particulate matter.