WASHINGTON — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced a new air-quality rule that could harm steel manufacturers and workers, reduce economic growth, and slow the implementation of major capital investments.
The rule, Reconsideration of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Particulate Matter, tightens restrictions on emissions of particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter, known as PM2.5, from the current 12 micrograms per cubic meter of air to 9 micrograms. The change will significantly increase non-attainment areas across the country, creating substantial new regulatory exposure for the steel sector.
The rule change ignores the fact that American manufacturers have made historic reductions in emissions and invested millions of dollars in state-of-the-art processes and equipment to continue that trend. According to the EPA, PM2.5 levels are 44 percent lower since 2000. Approximately 84 percent of PM2.5 emissions in the U.S. comes from fires, road dust, agriculture and other nonpoint sources. Yet the burden of compliance will fall heavily on domestic industry, resulting in unintended consequences.
“This regulatory action threatens successful implementation of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the CHIPS and Science Act and the important clean energy provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act. It will stifle the capital investment that creates jobs, reduces carbon emissions and modernizes manufacturing,” said Philip K. Bell, president of the Steel Manufacturers Association. “It could put as much as 40 percent of the U.S. population in non-attainment areas, causing manufacturers to abruptly change or curtail operations and cancel new projects. It will make it even more difficult to obtain permits for new factories, facilities and infrastructure to power economic growth.
“We urge the EPA to reconsider this rule before it undoes so much of the progress Americans have made toward economic prosperity and a cleaner environment,” Bell added.
Read the EPA announcement at https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/epa-finalizes-stronger-standards-harmful-soot-pollution-significantly-increasing.
About the SMA
SMA is the largest steel industry trade association in the United States and is the primary trade association representing North American EAF steel producers. EAF steelmakers account for over 70 percent of domestic steelmaking capacity using an innovative, 21st century production process that is less energy-intensive and has lower carbon emissions than traditional steelmaking. For more information check out our website at www.steelnet.org or our LinkedIn page.