EPA seeks more time to issue final NAAQS particle matter rules

The US Environmental Protection Agency will need at least until Aug. 15, 2013, to finalize new national ambient air quality standards on particle matter, it told a federal court on May 4.

EPA anticipates it would require at least a year to complete its rulemaking and would not be able to take final action by October as plaintiffs in a 2009 court mandate have requested, Regina McCarthy, assistant administrator for EPA’s Air and Radiation Office, said in the motion filed in US District Court for the District of Columbia. The volume of new scientific information which has emerged makes a full-year public comment period essential, she said.

Howard Feldman, regulatory and scientific affairs director at the American Petroleum Institute, said that API recognizes the difficulty EPA faces in completing a NAAQS review under a 5-year statutory requirement.

“API believes that the science does not support a tightening of the current [particle matter] standards, especially given the significant impact these standards have on other EPA programs and the economy,” Feldman said on May 8. “By virtually all metrics, US air quality continues to improve under the current standards.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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