Republicans step up attacks on Clean Air Act, soot rule

Source: By Sean Reilly, E&E News • Posted: Thursday, February 29, 2024

Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.).

Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) is helping lead the congressional opposition to EPA’s new soot rule. Francis Chung/POLITICO

EPA’s recent tightening of a key air pollution standard is prompting a two-pronged pushback on Capitol Hill this week: More than 30 Republican senators called for the decision to be scrapped and one introduced legislation that would make it harder for the agency to pursue stronger regulations in the future.

Under the rule released three weeks ago, EPA cut its annual exposure limit for the fine particles — often dubbed soot — by 25 percent. It was the first time the agency has tightened soot standards in more than a decade. In the long term, the move is expected to prevent thousands of premature deaths, according to the agency, with overall health benefits far exceeding the compliance costs.

But the action has spurred resistance from business groups who predicted that higher permitting hurdles accompanying the strengthened standard will stymie new plants and expansions.

Echoing that view were Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) and 31 other GOP lawmakers in a letter, shared exclusively with E&E News, to EPA Administrator Michael Regan.
in a letter