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EPA on Course to Lower Particulate Air Standards

According to the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association (NSSGA), the EPA appears poised to lower the current PM10 NAAQS to between 65-75µg/m³ – twice as stringent as the current standard of 150 µg/m³. These new limits could force aggregates operators to limit production as one of the only means to demonstrate compliance.

In addition to a lack of health-risk data, EPA has disregarded the natural background levels of particulate matter in many areas of the West and Midwest, which are above the proposed standard,” NSSGA noted. In order to demonstrate that the new standard would have devastating effects in the creation of new non-attainment areas, NSSGA and other mining and agriculture interests commissioned a study of potential changes to the Coarse Particulate standard. The results of this study were the basis of a Feb. 24 meeting with EPA technical staff.

EPA plans to issue this proposed rule in August, which is a six-month delay. This meeting complemented other NSSGA work to raise the profile of the adverse economic impacts of this proposed standard, including the formation of a Coarse Particulate Coalition with mining, agriculture, ranching and road building interests, as well as continued meetings with House and Senate leaders.