WASHINGTON, D.C. — Following a new proposed EPA rulemaking that would tighten National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for fine particulate matter (PM2.5), the U.S. Chamber’s Global Energy Institute is calling for the current standards to be maintained.
"The United States has some of the best air quality in the world, thanks to steady reductions in contributors to particulate matter emissions over the last decade—some by over 75 percent," said Chad Whiteman, Vice President of Environment and Regulatory Affairs at the Chamber’s Global Energy Institute. "While it is important to continue making progress, we are concerned that the proposed regulation would stifle manufacturing and industrial investment and exacerbate permitting challenges that continue to hamper the economy."
Thanks to private investment, technological advances, and cooperative efforts between states, businesses, and the federal government, America’s air is cleaner than ever. As a result, the vast majority (over 84 percent) of particulate matter emissions now come from non-point sources such as wildfires, construction and road dust—factors that are extremely difficult for individual regions and states to control. By contrast, only 16 percent come from industrial sources and power plants, with further improvements likely as new plants and technologies come online.
"Even if particulate matter emissions were completely eliminated from electricity, transportation and the industrial sector, it would be difficult to meet stricter standards in certain areas under this discretionary rulemaking in the timeframe allowed," said Whiteman. "We are disappointed that the Administration did not consider maintaining the current NAAQS standards. A better approach would be to focus on supporting innovative solutions through the implementation of the existing standards and the unprecedented new investments made by Congress."
The Chamber looks forward to carefully reviewing EPA’s proposal and providing comments to inform the agency’s final decision. Any new standards should be accompanied by the provision of full details of all compliance pathways and a comprehensive analysis of the expected direct and indirect costs of the standards.