Policy and Legal

Policy and Legal

NAM to EPA: Don’t Change NAAQS Standards

The NAM continues to push back against proposed revisions to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for particulate matter.

What’s going on: On Tuesday NAM Director of Energy and Resources Policy Chris Morris urged the Environmental Protection Agency to withdraw its recent proposal to lower the primary annual particulate matter standard from 12.0 µg/m3 to between 8.0 and 10.0 µg/m3.

The big picture: “Manufacturers in the U.S. have become leaders in environmental stewardship and sustainability,” Morris pointed out.

  • “Across the board, levels of major pollutants have declined dramatically, and the United States is outpacing our global competitors in air quality improvements,” he said.
  • “According to the EPA, the U.S. has reduced six common NAAQS pollutants, including PM5, by 78% between 1970 and 2020. Additionally, the EPA data show that PM2.5 air quality has improved 43% between 2000 and 2020.”

The new regulations: The EPA’s new standards would impose a substantial economic burden on manufacturers, Morris continued.

  • “First, there is the direct economic exposure manufacturers will face, which is a measure of the gross value added or employment in the manufacturing sector that could be affected or [placed] at risk,” he said.
  • “Second is the indirect economic exposure of manufacturing as a result of a stricter PM5 standard. This refers to the effects on the sector as the consequences are felt throughout the supply chain due to decreased overall investment.”

By the numbers: The EPA has estimated the total cost of the controls required for compliance with the proposed standard at up to $1.8 billion—and that figure could go higher, the agency admitted.

  • This expensive policy will lead to job losses and fewer new manufacturing facilities, as well as fewer modernizations and expansions to existing facilities, Morris continued.

Unattainable standards: What’s more, some areas in the U.S. are “in non-attainment” with the current PM2.5 standard, so a stricter standard will only put them further out of compliance, Morris told the EPA.

What should be done: To keep U.S. manufacturing competitive and to safeguard well-paying jobs, Morris said, the EPA should maintain the current annual particulate-matter standard of 12.0 µg/m3 and withdraw its proposal. 

The NAM in action: The NAM has been rallying manufacturers across the country to speak out against the EPA’s proposal and calling on Congress to oppose these harmful regulations.

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