President Obama's Environmental Protection Agency today announced its final new rule for fine particulate matter, revising the National Ambient Air Quality Standard from 15 micrograms per cubic meter to a more stringent level of 12 micrograms per cubic meter. Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY) issued the following statement in response to EPA's announcement:
"EPA is continuing its regulatory onslaught without regard to cost or economic consequences - each new rule coming out of EPA is taking our economy toward a regulatory cliff. EPA is now tightening the standard at a time when the 1997 and 2006 standards still have yet to be fully implemented. This new, more stringent standard threatens to force local communities back into non-attainment and harm our fragile economy. By continuing to "move the goal post,' EPA is making it more difficult for these local economies to grow and attract jobs.
"Our air is cleaner than it has been in decades and will continue to improve under existing regulations. EPA tells us that since 1990, air pollution has declined dramatically across the nation and local communities have invested heavily in cleaning up their air in recent years. But to lower the standard at a time when some communities are still struggling to comply with the current standards will do more harm than good.
"Given this rule's consequences for jobs and the economy, the committee recommended to EPA that the agency propose retention of the current standard, but this request was ignored. After EPA's original proposal, we asked EPA to update its cost-benefit analysis to reflect the most accurate costs, but this request was also ignored. Based on these actions, we are concerned the administration did not conduct a full and accurate analysis of the rule. In its new rule, we believe EPA has vastly underestimated the cost and dramatically overstated the benefits. The public deserves an honest accounting of the full consequences of this rule, and such questionable math demands congressional oversight."