In response to a court order, the EPA Friday proposed updates to its national air quality standards for harmful fine particle pollution, including soot (known as PM2.5). These microscopic particles can penetrate deep into the lungs and have been linked to a wide range of serious health effects, including premature death, heart attacks, and strokes, as well as acute bronchitis and aggravated asthma among children. A federal court ruling required EPA to update the standard based on best available science. The proposal, which meets that requirement, builds on steps already taken by the EPA to decrease pollution across the country. The EPA says 99% of U.S. counties are projected to meet the proposed standard without any additional action.
In response to the EPA's announcement, NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons criticized the move, stating: “The scope and damaging impact the EPA’s new standard will have on manufacturers across the country, both large and small, is troubling. Essentially this standard will result in strict regulations on any kind of existing facility, while restricting new permit requirements for the development of new facilities. This standard will also place certain counties in a ‘penalty box’ and make them less attractive to new business.”