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News Releases from HeadquartersAir and Radiation (OAR)

What They Are Saying: EPA Proposes to Retain NAAQS for Particulate Matter

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EPA Press Office (

WASHINGTON (April 14, 2020) — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced  its proposal to retain, without changes, the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for particulate matter (PM) including both fine particles (PM2.5) and coarse particles (PM10). This proposal comes after careful review and consideration of the most current available scientific evidence and risk and exposure information, and with consultation and confirmation by the agency’s independent science advisors.

Here's what elected officials and stakeholders are saying:

Congressman Rob Bishop (UT-01), House Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member: “The United States is a world leader in growing our economy while simultaneously improving air quality. Between 1970 to 2018, air pollutants identified in the Clean Air Act have fallen 74 percent while the US economy has grown by 275 percent. EPA’s decision to maintain the current National Particulate Matter Standards reflects this fact. Administrator Wheeler and the Administration should be commended for partnering with states, local, and tribal governments in improving our air quality while allowing economic growth to continue.”

Congressman Paul Gosar (AZ-04), Ranking Member of the Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee, House Natural Resources Committee: “Communities across the West are working hard every day to meet current environmental standards. Today’s announcement is proof the EPA has listened to the concerns of local communities who are weary of excessive government overreach. I applaud President Trump and Administrator Wheeler for working in concert with state, local, and tribal governments to ensure we have clean air and clean water.”

Congressman James Comer (KY-01), Ranking Member of the Environment Subcommittee, House Oversight and Reform Committee: “I strongly support EPA’s decision to maintain the current Particulate Matter (PM) standards. The current PM standards are among the strictest safeguards in the world. EPA will continue to protect the environment while not placing unnecessary burdens on local communities. Under Administrator Wheeler’s leadership, EPA has proven that it is possible to improve air quality in the United States while simultaneously growing the economy.”

Congressman Devin Nunes (CA-22): “I am gratified that the EPA’s standards are now guided by the scientific evidence and the needs of local communities. Farming families can rest assured the federal government will not impede their livelihoods or their continued ability to feed the nation.”

Congressman Andy Biggs (AZ-05): “Air quality in the United States continues to improve under President Trump’s administration. The EPA’s proposed action relieves our state from an increase in regulatory burdens by maintaining the current national particulate matter standards. This gives Arizona the flexibility to work on its current plan to meet and exceed the EPA’s standards and improve our state’s environmental health.”

Congressman Larry Bucshon (IN-08): “In these uncertain times, 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. We must continue to provide the certainty needed to promote innovation and economic growth,” said Dr. Bucshon

Congresswoman Carol Miller (WV-03): “With this decision, Administrator Wheeler has proven, once again, that we can protect our environment and prioritize the health of our citizens without unnecessary and overburdensome regulations. I applaud the EPA for their commitment to improving our air quality, which is now five times cleaner than the global average.”  

Congressman Morgan Griffith (VA-09): “In maintaining the national Particulate Matter standards set in 2012, the EPA has made the right call. Our air quality has improved under the current standards, and we can continue to make progress without imposing costly new burdens on the energy and manufacturing sectors.”

Congressman Alex Mooney (WV-02): “I am pleased to hear the EPA is maintaining the current national PM standards. After eight years of former President Obama’s War on Coal, President Donald Trump’s leadership is saving jobs in our coal industry. This decision will improve air quality while protecting West Virginia energy jobs.”

Congressman Bill Flores (TX-17): “I am pleased to see the Trump administration and the EPA employ a science and data driven approach to address the NAAQS for particulate matter. Communities throughout the nation, including some in the 17th Congressional District of Texas, have been struggling to prepare for previously proposed rules which had increasingly unreasonable standards. The EPA’s decision to retain current standards, without changes, rightly reflects the long-term trend data of dramatically decreased particulate matter as well as the needs of our state and local governments. Now, more than ever, our communities, small businesses, and industries need thoughtful, scientific-based certainty to dig our economy out of current coronavirus-related economic harm while continuing the trend of greatly improved air quality for hardworking American families.”

Austin Caperton, Cabinet Secretary, West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection: “With several announcements over the past few weeks the Trump administration, and the EPA administration, continue to demonstrate that states have rights and, more importantly, that science will be the guiding light when it comes to regulating the environment. The announcement that the PM2.5 and PM10 standards will remain as is until science dictates otherwise is but yet another example. And I'm proud to report that West Virginia is in full compliance with both standards.”

Kenneth Wagner, Oklahoma Secretary of Energy and Environment: “The regulatory decision to keep Particulate Matter standards steady under the NAAQS is strongly supported by the State of Oklahoma. The certainty of holding these standards steady allows businesses in Oklahoma to plan, comply and hopefully, grow after this incredibly difficult economic period.”

Libby Szabo, Commissioner, Jefferson County, CO: “Maintaining the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for particulate matter is a win, win. It not only makes sure we are setting a high standard for air quality but it also provides the requisite protection for public health and welfare of our communities, while making sure we are consistent with the best available science. My hat goes off to the EPA for finding this delicate balance.”

Jay Timmons, President and CEO, National Association of Manufacturers: Manufacturers are leading in the response to keep our country safe, and we will lead an American Renewal to reopen our economy. This is a wise decision to protect our air by retaining the current standard. Thanks to EPA Administrator Wheeler for his leadership.

Heidi Brock, President and CEO, The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) and Robert Glowinski, President and CEO, American Wood Council (AWC): “The American Forest & Paper Association and American Wood Council appreciate the work EPA has put into developing its proposal to retain the current National Ambient Air Quality Standard for particulate matter, including soliciting input from its science advisers. During the implementation of the many programs under the Clean Air Act, air quality has substantially improved in the United States, is among the best in the world, and will continue to improve in the years ahead. Since 2000, pulp and paper mills have reduced emissions, including a three-quarters reduction of SO2 which is a PM precursor; wood product mills have reduced key air emissions by similar amounts. AF&PA and AWC look forward to reviewing the proposal in-depth and submitting comments.”

Marty Durbin, President, U.S. Chamber’s Global Energy Institute: “While we will review the proposal in detail over the coming weeks, 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. The United States has made considerable progress improving air quality, with particulate matter emissions down 39 percent since 2000 during a period of population and economic growth. These successes are the direct result of collaborative efforts among industry, states, and the federal government to develop and incorporate cleaner technologies, and we look forward to further progress in the years ahead.”   

American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM): “AFPM joins other industry groups and the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee in support of the EPA’s proposal to retain current health and environment air quality standards. The United States has made incredible progress on reducing emissions, while continuing to deliver the essential fuel and petrochemical products that serve as the backbone of the global economy. Since 2000, PM2.5 concentrations have dropped 39 percent, contributing to a nearly 75 percent decrease in combined pollutant emissions over the last 50 years. This proposal to maintain the standards will continue this progress and contribute to a cleaner and healthier environment.”

American Chemistry Council (ACC): “ACC supports the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to retain the primary and secondary standards for particulate matter as released today. With air quality improving, EPA’s decision will enable further environmental progress under the current standards and emissions controls. We appreciate EPA’s timely release of the proposal and look forward to a more detailed review in formal comments to the Agency. ACC member companies have implemented a variety of measures to reduce emissions. Between 2008 and 2018, Responsible Care® companies reduced sulfur oxide (SOx) emissions by 67 percent and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by 43 percent.”

Frank Macchiarola, Senior Vice President of Policy, Economics and Regulatory Affairs, American Petroleum Institute (API): “Many industry groups across America – including ours – agree that EPA’s proposed rule is a smart balance that will further reduce emissions and help protect public health while meeting America’s energy needs. The U.S. has made significant progress in this area as the U.S. has reduced PM2.5 annual concentrations by 39 percent since 2000. This proposal is an important step toward continuing this progress. We are reviewing EPA’s proposal and intend to provide public testimony and comments to the regulatory docket.”

Gene Barr, President and CEO, Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry: “On behalf of our broad and diverse membership, we welcome EPA Administrator Wheeler’s proposal to retain the current standards for particulate matter. Now more than ever, the business community needs regulatory certainty. With total particulate emissions in Pennsylvania down by more than 30 percent over the past several decades and nearing statewide attainment of both the daily and annual particulate matter standards, it is clear the current standards are working to protect public health and allow business to grow. We applaud the administration for this announcement and look forward to working with them, as well as state regulators, on developing and implementing a regulatory agenda that promotes growth, innovation and sustainability.”  

Stephanie Kromer, Director of Energy and Environmental Policy, Ohio Chamber of Commerce: “The Ohio Chamber has supported efforts by the U.S. Congress to reign in executive authority over air rules and provide the regulated community with predictability and fairness. Ohio’s air continues to improve, and the Ohio Chamber has long urged U.S. EPA to recognize this when addressing air quality. A 60-day comment period will commence shortly, and the U.S. EPA will be looking to finalize the NAAQS review by December 2020. The Ohio Chamber of Commerce commends the U.S. EPA’s efforts to maintain current PM standards.”

Mike Nasi, Director of Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) Life:Powered Initiative: “America continues to be a world leader in clean air, having reduced emissions of the six criteria pollutants in the Clean Air Act by an aggregate 74 percent since 1970, a trend that has continued during the current administration. The EPA has studied the science and correctly determined that America’s world-leading PM standards protect public health. The agency should continue reforming its regulatory processes, especially a full implementation of the Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science rule, to ensure that its cost/benefit analyses and scientific reviews are not distorted by inflated health-benefit projections, which are too often used to justify imposing unnecessary regulatory costs on Americans that divert their hard-earned dollars away from other priorities, like health care.”

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