February 07, 2024


WASHINGTON, D.C.—Marty Durbin, Senior Vice President for Policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, made the following statement regarding EPA’s discretionary decision, released today, that sets National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for Particulate Matter (PM2.5):

“Tightening the NAAQS PM2.5 standard will grind permits to a halt for a large portion of our country. EPA’s new rule is expected to put 569 counties out of compliance and push many others close to the limit, which threatens economic growth. Compliance with the new standard will be very difficult because 84% of emissions now come from non-industrial sources like wildfires and road dust that are costly and hard to control.  While EPA states there are exemptions for wildfires, 70% of those requests haven’t been granted in the past, and the process for seeking one is time-consuming and difficult for states to manage.

“EPA should have kept the prior standard in place and focused on strategies to address non-industrial emissions instead of punishing counties and the private sector for situations largely out of their control.”   

The Chamber is in the process of reviewing the decision and its implications, including questions relevant to legality.  As communicated in a recent letter to the White House, the Chamber’s recent analysis demonstrates that wildfires have been an even larger contributor to PM2.5 in 2023, making tighter standards more challenging to meet.

In addition, Chamber president and CEO Suzanne Clark joined other association leaders from across the economy in a letter to the White House outlining industry concerns with tighter standards.