May 14, 2018

EPA Administrator Signs Memo To Reform the National Ambient Air Quality Standards Review Process

On May 9, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt signed a memorandum directing the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) to follow a “transparent, timely and efficient process in reviewing and revising public health- and welfare-based” National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).

The Administrator calls upon EPA to follow five principles as the agency conducts NAAQS reviews: 1) Meet statutory deadlines; 2) Address all Clean Air Act provisions for NAAQS reviews; 3) Streamline and standardize the process for development and reviews of key policy-relevant information; 4) Differentiate science and policy judgments in the NAAQS review process; and 5) Issue timely implementation regulations and guidance.

Importantly, as the EPA continues to evaluate whether the 2015 ozone NAAQS standard should be reconsidered, modified, or maintained, the Administrator directs EPA to begin the next review of the ozone NAAQS so the agency will be ready to finalize any necessary revisions by the statutorily required five-year deadline (October 2020). According to the EPA’s press release, the agency also will continue to move forward with their review of particulate matter NAAQS so that any revisions are finalized by December 2020.

The memo also builds on the Trump administration’s April 12 memorandum regarding domestic manufacturing and job creation, and directs EPA to “begin the next review of the ozone NAAQS so it can finalize any revisions by the Clean Air Act deadline of October 2020. It also “requires that the Agency complete its review of the particulate matter NAAQS by December 2020.”