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Trump EPA Plans to Retain Current Air Quality Standards in Science-Driven Decision

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The Environmental Protection Agency administrator today proposed a rule to retain current national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for fine (PM2.5) and coarse (PM10) particulate matter. The Clean Air Act requires EPA to update its NAAQS standards every five years based on the latest science. 

Marlo Lewis, CEI Senior Fellow, praised the EPA move:

“Administrator Wheeler is pursuing a sensible course, proposing to retain the current particulate matter national air quality standards (NAAQS) instead of tighten them. The proposal is based on the latest peer-reviewed, vetted science and continuing uncertainties about the health risks of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) that are below the current standards. 

“Air quality should continue to improve under the current standards as newer vehicles and equipment replace older capital stock. For example, emissions of all six NAAQS-regulated ("criteria") air pollutants declined by the following percentages during 2016-2018: NOX (8.7%), PM2.5 (1.9%), SO2 (7.8%), CO (7.2%) and VOC (3.3%).

“The Clean Air Act requires EPA to update each NAAQS every five years, and meeting statutory deadlines is a key goal of EPA's ‘back to basics’ agenda. When finalized, today's proposal will be the first time in EPA's history that the agency met a statutory deadline for updating a NAAQS.”