House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders are asking the Environmental Protection Agency to propose retention of its current standards for fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) to allow for a proper and full review of alternatives available in EPA's proposed new rule. Full Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY), and Chairman Emeritus Joe Barton (R-TX) today wrote to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson concerning the agency's forthcoming proposed rule, "Review of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Particulate Matter." A federal court ruled last week that EPA must short-cut the rule development and review process and issue its proposed standards by tomorrow. After asking the court for additional time, EPA is expected to finalize its rulemaking next week.
Committee leaders are concerned the court's deadline will compromise the administration's ability to conduct a thorough analysis and scientific review of EPA's proposed rule, which has significant economic consequences. Members believe the best course of action would be to include in the proposal, as one of the alternatives, retention of the current standards.
"Stringent standards that seek to control a ubiquitous and naturally occurring pollutant will likely be costly and have significant regulatory and other implications," wrote the members.
"We understand that you plan to issue a proposed rule as soon as next week, a schedule that does not allow for full consideration of alternatives and review by expert scientists at other federal agencies. We therefore urge you to include the retention of the current standards in any proposed rule addressing the ambient air standards for particulate matter."