States and Congress Respond Quickly to New Air Quality Standards for Particulate Matter

In the weeks following the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) action to lower the primary annual air quality standard by 25 percent for fine particulate matter or PM2.5 (see AGC article), multiple states have taken legal action and both chambers of Congress have initiated AGC-supported resolutions against the rule.

In the Senate, 45 Republicans have joined Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in a resolution against the rule (introduced 3/14). In order to pass, this resolution would require a simple majority. In the House, Rep. Rick Allen introduced a resolution that has 50 Republican co-sponsors (as of Mar. 28). Under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), both chambers of Congress would have to pass the resolution, which would then go to the President. If vetoed, the resolution would return to Congress to override, which can be a steep hurdle.

AGC signaled support of the CRA efforts. Jimmy Christianson, VP Government Relations, issued the following statement. “EPA’s voluntary and premature tightening of PM NAAQS will reverberate throughout the supply chain. If local manufacturing plants have to curtail production or close, then it will impact the availability of local construction materials, constrain the supply chain, and result in increased emissions, not less, from shipping. In addition, areas that do not meet the new standard could face construction bans and the loss of federal highway funding. Communities will feel the greatest impact with negative effects on employment, delayed public health and welfare projects, and stalled improvements and repairs to roads, bridges and public transit.”

Headed by Kentucky, twenty-four states have filed suit against the rule in U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

For more information, contact Melinda Tomaino at

Industry Priorities