New EPA rules will remove harmful air pollution, with public health and economic benefits

Ceres applauds the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s newly released standards for pollution from fine particulate matter, otherwise known as PM2.5 or soot, a harmful and deadly pollutant produced by fossil fuel power plants, vehicle emissions, and other industrial sources that harm public health in exposed communities. 

“The EPA’s new particulate matter standard is a lifesaver and will help build a cleaner, healthier, and more just economy for all,” said Anne Kelly, vice president of government relations, Ceres. “Ceres commends the Biden administration for tackling this important public health challenge with rules that are ambitious yet entirely feasible — especially given the groundswell of recent federal, state, and private investments in clean electricity, transportation, industry, and agriculture. As the new soot regulation takes hold, we encourage businesses from all sectors to take full advantage of the Inflation Reduction Act and other clean energy investments to ensure the benefits of reduced pollution are realized in all communities and across the economy.” 

Soot’s well-documented health effects impact about 63 million Americans, and the new fine particulate matter standard has significant public health and economic benefits. It projects to save 4,200 lives, prevent 5,400 cases of asthma, and avoid 270,000 lost workdays, producing public health net benefits worth $43 billion. 

Ceres actively engaged with the EPA throughout the regulatory process to support a strong fine particulate standard, including through written feedback and live testimony, and worked closely with companies like Avocado Green, Solectrac, and Eileen Fisher as they called for stronger standards. Following public feedback, the EPA adopted the stronger of its proposed standards of 9 µg/ m3 released today. 

Ceres recently released the 19th edition of the report, Benchmarking Air Emissions of the 100 Largest Electric Power Producers in the United States, which analyzed air pollutant emissions generated by 2021 power generation. The report found that emissions from pollutants from power plants, such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and mercury continue to decline since the passage of major amendments to the Clean Air Act in 1990, highlighting the importance of policy and regulation to curb pollution.  

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