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Subcommittee Chair Carter introduces bill reversing negative impacts of Biden’s jobs-killing air quality standards

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Materials Chair Earl L. “Buddy” Carter (R-GA) today introduced H.R. 7650, the Air Quality Standards Implementation Act of 2024, a bill that makes practical changes to reform the broken process used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish and implement the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).

In February, the EPA announced its final rule tightening National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for fine particulate matter (PM2.5), reducing the current standard of 12 micrograms per cubic meter of air to 9 micrograms. This highly restrictive new standard threatens up to one million jobs and $197.4 billion in economic activity, as new NAAQS are getting closer and closer to background levels, leaving little headspace to allow for new permitting or expanded construction. H.R. 7650 addresses these concerns by ensuring that the new PM2.5 standards do not take effect until an implementation plan is developed and making practical permitting reforms to increase the efficiency of state implementation of the new standards.

“The Clean Air Act was established to enhance American productivity, not kill it, and we must ensure that NAAQS implementation does not prevent economic growth and development. This bill reflects 40 years of experience implementing air quality standards and will ensure that both EPA and states have time to do this the right way. America has the best environmental standards and economic potential in the world, and this bill will make sure it stays that way,”
said Rep. Carter.

“For decades, America has been the best place to do business, while also maintaining the highest environmental standards in the world. That is why today, air quality in the U.S. is the best in the world—and getting better. We should be building on this success with reasonable solutions that appropriately balance protecting our public health with ensuring America continues to maintain its economic leadership. I commend my colleague, Rep. Buddy Carter, for his leadership on this legislation that will improve people’s livelihoods and support American jobs,”
said Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA).

Original cosponsors include: Reps. Brett Guthrie (R-KY), Randy Weber (R-TX), David Valadao (R-CA), John Joyce (R-PA), Rick Allen (R-GA), Greg Pence (R-IN), Diana Harshbarger (R-TN), Dan Newhouse (R-WA), Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), Andy Barr (R-KY), Jay Obernolte (R-CA), August Pfluger (R-TX), Troy Balderson (R-OH), and Bob Latta (R-OH).

“I was proud to join my colleagues co-sponsoring this crucial bill that will reform the National Ambient Air Quality Standards setting process. The last statutory review process of the PM 2.5 standard was completed in 2020 and the experts agreed that the standard should be maintained. Under pressure from the fringes of his party, the Biden administration circumvented existing law and recently issued a new PM 2.5 standard that will put many communities out of attainment. Unfortunately, this new proposed standard is not attainable, and will halt economic development across Kentucky and our nation, eliminating good-paying jobs in the process. I am honored to join my House Republican colleagues in standing up for our local businesses against harmful overregulation that crush local economies around the nation,”
said Congressman Guthrie.

“My district along the Texas Gulf Coast is home to some of the largest refineries, petrochemical plants, and LNG facilities in the United States,”
said Rep. Weber. “The EPA’s proposed standard is projected to put my district in nonattainment, which would be detrimental to America and the countless jobs in my district. We must protect America’s health without destroying our domestic manufacturing, and this bill creates safeguards to do just that.”

“Washington should be making it easier for businesses, local governments, and others to implement and comply with federal regulations – not constantly moving the goalposts with unreasonable deadlines.  Having an EPA national air quality standard that states are able to easily implement is critical to improving both air quality and the everyday lives of those suffering from respiratory diseases like asthma,” said Congressman Valadao. “I’m proud to join my colleagues on this important legislation and will continue working to improve air quality for the Central Valley and our nation.” 

“President Biden’s EPA has proposed disastrous air quality standards that would devastate many sectors of the U.S. economy, most recently with its finalized standard for fine particulate matter, or PM 2.5. The shortsighted and unworkable approach from the administration underscores the need to update the process for setting National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) while ensuring they are feasible for states and future economic development projects. I am proud to cosponsor the Air Quality Standards Implementation Act as we continue our work to ensure America maintains some of the lowest air pollution levels in the world,”
said Rep. Allen.

“The Biden administration’s misguided environmental policies have placed a chokehold on the American manufacturing industry,” 
said Congresswoman Diana Harshbarger. “The reckless air quality standards proposed by Biden’s EPA will kill countless manufacturing jobs and deal a crushing blow to local economies, particularly in rural areas. The Air Quality Standards Implementation Act is common-sense legislation that will reduce the Biden administration’s job-killing permitting barriers, promote economic growth, and unleash America’s manufacturing potential.”

“The Biden Administration’s irresponsible rule on fine particulate matter harms rural producers in every industry. This bill takes important steps to empower states to implement standards, rather than giving unelected bureaucrats in Washington, DC, even more power to control our lives. I thank Rep. Carter for his leadership on this issue and encourage support for this bill going forward,”
said Rep. Newhouse.

“Overburdensome regulations like the EPA’s revised standard on fine particulate matter, PM2.5, will drive American manufacturing overseas to countries who do not adhere to sound environmental guidelines,”
said Congressman Barr. “I am proud to support the Air Quality Standards Implementation Act of 2024 because it will provide the regulated community certainty, extend the mandatory timeline the EPA has to review air quality standards, and will keep high paying manufacturing jobs in America, bolstering our supply chain and ensuring America will remain competitive with Chinese manufacturing.”

“The EPA’s final rule implements a substantially harsher national standard for ambient air quality which will have a devastating effect on industries across the country who have no viable options for complying,” 
said Rep. Jay Obernolte. “This rule would limit domestic manufacturing, forcing companies to purchase from overseas manufacturers where environmental standards are lower than those in the U.S., and therefore making global air quality worse, not better. The Air Quality Standards Implementation Act will ensure these new regulations are economically feasible, environmentally sound, and safeguard American manufacturing from being decimated.”

“The EPA has gone way too far with their new standards for fine particulate matter,” 
said Rep. Balderson. “Federal regulations must be, at a bare minimum, attainable and economically feasible for manufacturers to meet. The Air Quality Standards Implementation Act will right-size these rules and correct the timeline of implementation so that companies in Ohio–and across the country–will have adequate time to properly plan and prepare.”

“I am proud to join Rep. Carter in pushing back against EPA's overreaching attempt to hamper American energy and hamstring the manufacturing sector. As Ohio’s Fifth District is home to more than 86,000 manufacturing jobs, this proposed rule will have a severe impact on our local economy. EPA continues to cast uncertainty over the energy and manufacturing industry, chilling investment in American companies to the benefit of our foreign competitors,”
said Rep. Latta.

Specifically, this bill will:

  • Dictate a predictable and adequate timeline of review for NAAQS;
  • Ensure the attainability of a NAAQS is considered;
  • Ensure that actions to mitigate wildfires, such as prescribed burns, are not penalized by the EPA;
  • Ensure the EPA issues updated implementation guidance and regulations with a NAAQS revision;
  • Provides essential flexibilities to areas in nonattainment of NAAQS;
  • Ensures States are not punished for emissions beyond their control;
  • Strengthen the States’ role in the scientific advisory process of the NAAQS; and
  • Ensure the States have one year to revise State Implementation Plans before the EPA can issue a Federal Implementation Plan.

Read full bill text here.

Read Chair Carter’s subcommittee remarks here