Biden EPA’s Air Quality Rule Proposal Would Crush American Industry And Jobs, Executives Warn

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A proposed update to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) air quality standards could severely harm American industry while undermining President Joe Biden’s agenda, according to a Tuesday letter signed by more than 70 industrial executives and trade group representatives.

The letter to White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients warns that the EPA’s January proposal to tighten the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for fine particle pollution (PM 2.5) could result in huge swaths of the country being in noncompliance with the rule, and that it could strangle development and undermine key programs and policies of Biden’s industrial agenda. The EPA estimates that the policy would generate up to $43 billion in net health benefits in 2032, as well as prevent 4,200 premature deaths per year and restore 270,000 lost workdays per year by reducing the current standard of allowable fine particle pollution by up to 25%.

“A proposed discretionary revision to this standard, which is under review by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, could put nearly 40% of the U.S. population in areas of nonattainment,” the letter states. “Doing so would risk jobs and livelihoods by making it even more difficult to obtain permits for new factories, facilities and infrastructure to power economic growth. This proposal would also threaten successful implementation of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the CHIPS and Science Act and the important clean energy provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act.” (RELATED: EPA’s New Climate Rule Would Cause Rolling Blackouts In Huge Swath Of America, Analysis Finds)

The particulate matter that falls under the EPA regulation can come from other sources besides burning fuels, including forest fires and tire friction on roadways. The EPA’s own data shows that seasonally-adjusted national PM 2.5 concentration decreased by 42% between 2000 and 2022.

EPA is reconsidering the 2020 final decision to retain the PM NAAQS, which were last strengthened in 2012,” an EPA spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “The agency developed the draft final rule after considering the scientific evidence, technical information, (Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee) advice and more than 700,000 public comments received on the proposed rule. EPA anticipates signature and publication of the final rule later this year, following completion of interagency review.”

The proposal “is grounded in the best available science,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan said when the proposal was unveiled in January. However, Steve Milloy, a senior legal fellow for the Energy and Environment Legal Institute, disagrees.

“PM 2.5 is the most demonstrable science fraud going on at the EPA,” Milloy told the DCNF. “There is more than enough scientific research to demonstrate that what EPA is doing here is fraud, and it is really a testament to the corruption of the scientific community.”

If finalized, the regulation would kill jobs and enable the EPA to effectively manage state and local economies because states that are not in compliance with the tightened standards would have to receive approval from the agency to develop new factories and power facilities, Milloy told the DCNF. The update would essentially deny local economies the right to develop, he added.

The states that would be most adversely impacted by a finalized PM 2.5 NAAQS update would be Texas, California, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Nevada, Arizona and Illinois, according to the letter’s text.

“Lowering the current standard so dramatically would create a perverse disincentive for American investment,” the letter concludes. “The EPA’s proposal could force investment in new facilities to foreign countries with less stringent air standards, thereby undermining the administration’s economic and environmental goals.”

The White House did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

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