NAM Regulatory Update: Manufacturers File Suit Against EPA Over Air Standard

As part of an effort to bring more information about the regulatory and legal environment facing American manufacturers, NFPA is monitoring the newsfeed of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and will be bringing important updates like this to the attention of NFPA members.

The NAM and seven association partners have filed suit against the Environmental Protection Agency to challenge the office’s overly stringent, recently finalized rule on particulate matter, or PM2.5.

What’s going on: The eight groups filed suit in the D.C. Circuit to push back on the EPA’s National Ambient Air Quality Standards rule, which last month it lowered from 12 micrograms per cubic meter of air to 9, a 25% reduction and a stifling burden on manufacturers, the NAM said.

“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, 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.”

Participating in the suit with the NAM—which has repeatedly urged the EPA against overtightening the standard—are the American Chemistry Council, the American Forest & Paper Association, the American Petroleum Institute, the American Wood Council, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Mining Association and the Portland Cement Association.

Why it’s important: If it’s enacted, the stricter PM2.5 standard would cost businesses and the U.S. economy huge sums, hampering company operations and job growth and forcing tough choices on states and towns nationwide.

The total cost of complying with the new acceptable concentration level could be as much as $1.8 billion, according to the EPA’s own estimates—and that number could go up.

What’s more, it would make the U.S. less competitive globally. “Europe’s current PM standard is 25; China’s is 35,” NAM Managing Vice President of Policy Chris Netram told the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment, Manufacturing and Critical Materials. “If we want the next manufacturing dollar to be spent in America rather than abroad, a standard of 9 is simply not feasible.”

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