Western Caucus Members Condemn EPA’s Decision on NAAQS Rule for Fine Particulate Matter

  • Timber

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Western Caucus Members released the following statements responding to the Biden Administration’s finalized rule on National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for fine particulate matter (PM2.5). The final update to the NAAQS will have devastating economic consequences for timber mills, manufacturers, and American industry.

“In another misguided decision by the Biden Administration, the EPA announced its final rule for NAAQS standards for fine particulate matter,” said Chairman Dan Newhouse (WA-04). “This decision is deeply irresponsible as it will place an undue burden on rural America’s economic drivers, from our forestry industry to energy and mining to manufacturing, at a time when businesses and producers across our country are already struggling. Additionally, this rule is unnecessary as the United States already ranks as a top-20 nation worldwide for air quality. Rest assured, the Western Caucus will continue to fight this rule on behalf of rural Americans.”

“These new industry killing standards on fine particulate matter have the potential to jeopardize millions of jobs nationwide and threaten nearly $200 billion in economic activity; it will be especially devastating for the forest products industry, which is vital to Arkansas’ 4th Congressional District,” said Vice Chair Bruce Westerman (AR-04). “Improving air quality and being good stewards of the environment is a top priority of agriculturalists and forest products manufacturers. This latest radical decision by the EPA was not made with the best interests of our environment in mind, and only puts these critical industries at risk. I’m calling on the EPA to consider the ramifications of this action and rescind these onerous standards immediately.”

“The EPA’s new standards for PM 2.5 will make it nearly impossible to build or expand new manufacturing facilities in the United States,” said House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) and Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Materials Subcommittee Chair Buddy Carter (GA-01). “It further undermines efforts to grow America’s manufacturing base and increases our dependence on China. The damage will be felt in local communities across the U.S. and in nearly every sector of our economy, jeopardizing millions of good-paying jobs. We should be making it easier, not harder, to expand our manufacturing and industrial capacity in America. The EPA must abandon this reckless agenda.”


Particulate matter is a mixture of particles that can originate from various industrial processes as well as basic everyday activities such as fireplaces, nearby roadways, and outdoor grills. Recently, the EPA has moved to reconsider and tighten National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for fine particulate matter reducing the current 12 μg/m3 to 9 μg/m3. The EPA has a statutory duty under the Clean Air Act to review the NAAQS, with the EPA Administrator in 2020 concluding that particulate matter standards are protective of public health and environmental qualities. This recent rule was decided without regard to any new health information and the impact on the American economy across industries will be felt for years to come.

At the end of January, Western Caucus Chairman Dan Newhouse (WA-04) along with Vice Chair Bruce Westerman (AR-04) sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan urging the agency to halt its release of this rule. The full letter can be found here.

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