The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) and American Wood Council (AWC) issued a joint statement following a proposed EPA rulemaking that would tighten National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for fine particulate matter:
“We are disappointed that EPA is proposing to significantly tighten the current NAAQS Standard for particulate matter without a clear path to achieve it.
“This reconsideration of the standard is a discretionary action at a time of significant economic uncertainty, while the science also remains unclear and has not significantly changed since EPA established the current standard.
“During the implementation of the many programs under the Clean Air Act, air quality has substantially improved in the United States and is among the best in the world. Moreover, stationary sources that are the focus of this rule constitute less than 20% of overall particular matter emissions and will continue to go down in the years ahead under current air quality programs.
“We are particularly disappointed the NAAQS proposal is not accompanied by an achievable implementation plan that could provide a path to consider all sources, work cooperatively with states on achievable and efficient implementation, and avoid unintended consequences.
“Lowering the NAAQS as proposed could stifle mill modernization projects that otherwise reduce emissions while keeping the U.S. forest products industry globally competitive and supporting high-paying jobs, often in small, rural communities that particularly need economic opportunity.
“AF&PA and AWC will review the proposal and its supporting material in advance of providing comments.”