U.S. EPA Recommends Maintaining the Current National Particulate Matter Standards

On April 14, after the 5-year National Ambient Air Quality Standards review, the U.S. EPA announced that they will maintain existing National Particulate Matter (PM) Standards. EPA stated that “the existing standards are protective of clean air, human health and the environment.”

As required by the Clean Air Act, the EPA must set national standards for six “criteria pollutants,” which includes particulate matter (PM). PM refers to a wide range of particles such as dust, soot and smoke, just to name a few. These air pollutants are then further broken down into two categories: fine PM and coarse PM. The EPA is mandated to evaluate PM standards periodically and revise them if they are not consistent with protecting the public health and welfare.

After the implementation of the Clean Air Act in 1970, to 2018, U.S. criteria pollutants fell 74% while the economy grew by 275%. This puts the U.S. more than five times below the global average of particulate matter levels.

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.