Washington, D.C. – Following the decision by the Environmental Protection Agency to lower the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for fine particulate matter (PM2.5) to 9 micrograms per cubic meter, National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released the following statement:
“The Biden administration’s new PM2.5 standard takes direct aim at manufacturing investment and job creation, in direct contradiction to the president’s stated goal of strengthening manufacturing in communities all across America.
“The new standard of 9 and the EPA’s paltry 60-day implementation window will guarantee projects currently under permitting review will have to comply with this onerous decision, making an already gridlocked permitting system further gridlocked.
“Manufacturers in America will also be hard pressed to make long-term investment plans domestically as our global competitors have set more reasonable goals. 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.
“Governors and mayors will now have to make difficult decisions under this untenable standard. New manufacturing investments envisioned by the CHIPS and Science Act, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the energy provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act will be subject to these new requirements. This revised standard will force some communities to choose which—if any—investments can proceed without running afoul of the EPA’s decree.
“By implementing such a radical standard here, our country is ceding our competitive advantage with an unforced error. All of these choices could have been avoided with a more sensible standard and a longer implementation runway.
“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%). Before forcing actions that will curtail manufacturing investment and infrastructure development, the federal government should first determine how to deal with what is occurring naturally.
“To be sure, manufacturers proudly stood up for funding in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, CHIPS and Science Act investments and many of the policy provisions outlined in the IRA. But there is no doubt that our country will be unable to realize the benefits of these legislative accomplishments with this new rule in place. As counties and cities find themselves in nonattainment, this grave mistake will drive investment away from the United States, derail permitting and weaken the economy for all.
“The U.S. already has some of the strictest air standards in the world, and thanks to manufacturers’ innovation and leadership, some of the cleanest air and best environmental records. Manufacturers will consider all options to reverse this harmful and unnecessary standard, because it is our duty to stand against policies that hold our country back.”
Per the EPA: Nonattainment is any area that does not meet (or that contributes to ambient air quality in a nearby area that does not meet) the national primary or secondary ambient air quality standard for NAAQS.
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. As a result, America’s air is cleaner than ever.
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 www.nam.org.