Press Releases

Press Releases

Manufacturers Challenge EPA’s Untenable Air Standard in Court

The NAM Legal Center has sued to block the rule

Washington, D.C. Today, the National Association of Manufacturers joined a coalition of other major business trade associations to file suit in the D.C. Circuit to challenge the Environmental Protection Agency’s misguided final rule lowering the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for fine particulate matter (PM2.5) to 9 micrograms per cubic meter.

The EPA finalized this provision—a 25% reduction from the current standard effective on a truncated timeline of 60 days—outside of the Clean Air Act’s normal five-year review cycle, becoming the first administration to redo a promulgated NAAQS.

“In pursuing this discretionary reconsideration rule, the EPA should have considered the tremendous costs and burdens of a lower PM2.5 standard,” said NAM Chief Legal Officer Linda Kelly. “Instead, by plowing ahead with a new standard that is vastly more restrictive than any other national standard, including that set by the EU, the agency not only departs significantly from the traditional NAAQS process, but also gravely undermines the Biden administration’s manufacturing agenda—stifling manufacturing investment, infrastructure development and job creation in communities across the country. The NAM Legal Center is filing suit to protect manufacturers’ ability to obtain permits, expand facilities and pursue long-term investment plans, and defend our country’s competitive advantage.”


  • The Clean Air Act requires the EPA to review the NAAQS every five years to determine whether the PM2.5 standard should be retained or revised. The EPA’s revised standard was done in an out-of-cycle reconsideration.
  • In December 2020, following a complete review of the PM NAAQS, the EPA decided to retain the PM2.5 standard of 12 micrograms per cubic meter. But in June 2021, the agency announced it would reconsider that decision.
  • The NAM submitted comments urging the EPA to maintain the existing standard. The EPA recently reported that PM2.5 concentrations have declined by 42% since 2000, driven by major emissions reductions from both mobile sources and the power sector.
  • Notably, the EU standard is currently 25, and a proposal there would be to reach 10 by 2030. The UK has a target of 10 by 2040.
  • The EPA itself says that some 70% of particulate matter comes from nonmanufacturing sources, such as wildfires (29%), agriculture and prescribed fires (15%), crop and livestock dust (12%), unpaved road dust (10%), paved road dust (3%) and “dust” (2%).


The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs nearly 13 million men and women, contributes $2.85 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and accounts for 53% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit

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