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WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: EPA Finalizes NAAQS for Particulate Matter

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WASHINGTON (December 8, 2020) — Yesterday, at a virtual press conference with Governor Jim Justice, U.S. Congressman Alex Mooney (WV-02), West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Austin Caperton, and Senior Deputy Attorney General Douglas Buffington, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced the agency’s final decision to retain the existing National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for particulate matter (PM) set by the Obama-Biden Administration without changes. Here’s what stakeholders and elected officials are saying:

U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer (ND): “The EPA is taking a responsible, science-based approach to its particulate matter standards and fulfilling President Trump’s promise to defend American jobs while protecting people’s health and the environment. I appreciate Administrator Wheeler’s thoughtfulness and ability to implement necessary regulations without letting the bureaucracy needlessly burden those being regulated.”

Congressman Alex Mooney (WV-02): “Today's announcement by the EPA of the finalization of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards rule is a big win for West Virginia. As crafted this rule well balances the need for a cleaner environment with the need for continued economic development. Under the leadership of President Trump, America has cleaner air and is energy independent, with West Virginia serving as the backbone for our nation's energy production.”

Congressman Morgan Griffith (VA-09): “I applaud the EPA’s final rule to maintain the particulate matter standards. Keeping them will allow us to continue our progress without placing excessive burdens on job creators. This decision by Administrator Wheeler and the Trump Administration supports clean air protections for the American people.”

Congressman Larry Bucshon, M.D. (IN-08): “Removing barriers to innovation and championing free-market solutions driven by the American consumer will provide Hoosier manufacturers and energy producers with the certainty they need. I applaud the Administration’s decision to maintain the existing National Particulate Matter Standards, which ensures Hoosier families have access to cleaner air and that burdensome regulations do not stifle Main Street jobs. The air we breathe continues to get cleaner as states implement existing standards, so we must continue to provide the certainty needed to promote innovation and economic growth.” 

U.S. Congressmen John Shimkus, Greg Walden, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Bob Latta, Brett Guthrie, Pete Olson, David McKinley, Morgan Griffith, Bill Long, Larry Buschon, Bill Flores, Markwayne Mullin, Earl “Buddy” Carter, Jeff Duncan, Greg Gianforte, Scott Perry, Alex Mooney, Glenn Grothman, Randy Weber, Carol Miller, Troy Balderson, Dan Newhouse, Dan Crenshaw, Thomas Tiffany, Steve Chabot, Doug Lamborn, Kelly Armstrong: “At a time when economic stimulus and public services are critical to the nation’s recovery, retaining these standards, which were set by the Obama Administration, will allow air quality improvements to continue without causing local communities across the country to suffer unnecessary jobs loss and further erosion of tax revenue. EPA, states, and the regulated community have successfully worked together to slash PM2.5 emissions, resulting in a 43 percent improvement in related air quality since 2000. In the last three years alone, PM2.5 emissions have dropped 7 percent.”

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice: “I am very proud to join EPA Administrator Wheeler for this important announcement for our whole country. The fact that the U.S. has the most vibrant economy in the world, and yet our particulate matter is five times lower than the global average, is a testament to the leadership of President Trump, the U.S. EPA, and the entire Trump Administration. In West Virginia, our air is the cleanest it’s been in over 40 years and our economy is on the move. The outside world is learning that West Virginia is the diamond in the rough that they may have missed, and an excellent place to raise a family and grow a business in one of the most beautiful places on Earth. I couldn’t be happier to celebrate this great accomplishment.” 

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey: “This is an important announcement for West Virginia. We need to continue to support policies that keep our air clean, while protecting the job producers in our state. This regulation accomplishes those goals.”

West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Austin Caperton: "I am extremely proud of what West Virginia has achieved in drastically improving our air since the passage of the Clean Air Act. And, I'm proud that under President Trump's and Governor Justice's administrations we have improved even more. I also want to single out WVDEP Department of Air Quality, headed by Ms. Laura Crowder, for the amazing job that they have done.”

Colorado's Jefferson County Commissioner Libby Szabo: “It is so important that all Americans no matter where they are, have the ability to breathe clean air. I commend Administrator Wheeler on holding standards at a high level. By looking at the outcomes it is obvious the protocols are working. We have some of the lowest particulate  matter levels in the world. That is something to praise.”

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Global Energy Institute Vice President of Environment and Regulatory Affairs Chad Whiteman: “We commend EPA for its efforts to advance a timely review of National Ambient Air Quality Standards for particulate matter as required by the Clean Air Act, and for its decision to retain the current standards in accordance with the recommendations of its clean air scientific advisory committee. Across decades of planning and investment, businesses have worked with EPA and their state partners to lower ambient concentrations of particulates and other criteria pollutants. These emissions reductions have made U.S. air quality among the cleanest in the world, and occurred while the U.S. economy, population, and energy use has steadily grown—undoubtedly a testament to successful collaboration between EPA, states, and industry to develop and adopt new emissions control technologies and practices in a sound, cost-effective manner.”

National Association of Manufacturers Vice President for Energy and Resources Policy Rachel Jones: “Manufacturers are dedicated to protecting the environment and improving public health. As creators and users of the technologies that are vital to reducing emissions, manufacturers invest billions of dollars annually to protect air quality and have enabled remarkable improvements. That’s why manufacturers support the EPA’s decision to retain the Obama Administration’s particulate matter standard. We are focused on building the future Americans deserve—one that is cleaner, more efficient and environmentally sustainable.”

American Petroleum Institute Senior Vice President of Policy Economics, and Regulatory Affairs Frank Macchiarola: “Under existing standards, the U.S. has made remarkable progress in reducing emissions and improving air quality. Thanks to cleaner fuels and industry action, we have the cleanest air in half a century, and with smart regulations and continued innovation, we can build on this progress while delivering affordable, reliable energy around the world.”  

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