TFI voices alarm over revised US air quality standards

Chemical plant for production of ammonia and nitrogen fertilization on day time. Cooling tower with fan blades close-up

The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) on Wednesday voiced its opposition to the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) lowering of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for fine particulate matter, arguing that the change will impede fertilizer production and negatively impact economic growth.

“At a time when the need to strengthen the domestic fertilizer industry has been made clear by multiple ongoing global crises and echoed by the Biden Administration, now is not the time to hamstring fertilizer production by making new production facilities or the expansion of existing production more difficult or, in some instances, impossible,” said the institute’s president and CEO, Corey Rosenbusch.

TFI noted that although NAAQS for fine particulate matter have reduced air pollution nationwide, they represent a major challenge for industry. It said that in spite of ongoing technological improvements, industries reach a point at which further air quality improvements become less and less feasible, especially as 84% of current PM2.5 emissions originate from non-industrial sources.

“PM2.5 emissions have declined nearly 40% over the past twenty years, and they continue to go down,” Rosenbusch stated. “TFI does not support lowering NAAQS levels and instead supports the previous standard that balanced robust environmental protection with economic growth.”

The Biden administration, for its part, has said that the EPA’s decision to revise NAAQS for fine particulate matter down from a level of 12 micrograms per cubic meter to 9 micrograms per cubic meter is based on the best available science.

It maintains that by 2032 the measure will prevent up to 4,500 premature deaths and 290,000 lost workdays, and yield as much as $46 billion in net health benefits.

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