February 12, 2024

EPA Issues New Smog Rules That Could Reduce U.S. Manufacturing Output

Despite the fact that soot concentrations in the air have declined by 42 percent over the last quarter century, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced that it has finalized an update to the country’s air quality particulate matter, or soot, standard. Specifically, the regulation reduces the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for fine particulate matter (PM2.5) from 12 micrograms per cubic meter of air to 9 micrograms.

The move could have a significant negative impact on U.S. manufacturing, and the Metals Service Center institute has joined the National Association of Manufacturers’ (NAM) coalition, Manufacturers for Sensible Regulations, which will work to reverse this rule.

According to NAM, this new regulation would put huge swaths of the country in “nonattainment” zones, meaning they do not meet ambient air quality standards. Factories in nonattainment areas would be unable to operate. Permitting would become almost impossible, and economic development would grind to a halt, NAM said. A NAM-commissioned analysis by Oxford Economics found this standard could reduce economic growth by nearly $200 billion and cost as many as one million jobs through 2031.

The rule also would put U.S. manufacturers at a disadvantage with global competitors, and it would require state and local officials to make difficult decisions about which critical infrastructure projects in their areas could move forward.

NAM has more information about this rule at this link


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