Feb. 7, 2024 - The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) President and CEO Heidi Brock and American Wood Council (AWC) President and CEO Jackson Morrill responded to the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) announcement of an updated National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for particulate matter (PM2.5), which lowers the standard to 9 µg/m3.
"EPA's rule delivers a devastating blow to U.S. manufacturing and the economy while doing nothing to address the largest sources of particulate matter, including wildfire smoke. This unworkable air rule undermines President Biden's promise to grow and reshore manufacturing jobs. We are very concerned that many of the modernization projects in the paper and wood products industry and across U.S. manufacturing will no longer be able to move forward.
"The new rule defies common sense. This Administration has set the PM2.5 NAAQS at near background levels, ensuring permit gridlock for most manufacturing sectors around the country, while failing to address 84% of overall PM2.5 emissions. Essential projects that would reduce greenhouse gas and other emissions, create high-paying jobs and allow us to compete in the global economy are now severely at risk. Our industry has demonstrated a continued commitment to be a good steward and community partner. We need sustainable regulation to make environmental progress and keep vital manufacturing jobs in America.
"AF&PA and AWC joined leaders from over 70 other U.S. manufacturing and trade groups urging the Administration to maintain the existing standard. We also delivered a joint CEO letter to White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients signed by 44 of our members from the paper and wood products industry. These letters reflect the importance of this issue not only for our industry but for the economic prosperity of America.
"The EPA must immediately reconsider the PM NAAQS and set a 3-year effective date. We want to work with the Biden Administration on a practical implementation plan that avoids some of the worst impacts of this unsustainable rule."
The American Wood Council (AWC) is the voice of North American wood products manufacturing, an industry that provides over 450,000 men and women in the United States with family-wage jobs. AWC represents 86 percent of the structural wood products industry, and members make products that are essential to everyday life from a renewable resource that absorbs and sequesters carbon.
The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) serves to advance U.S. paper and wood products manufacturers through fact-based public policy and marketplace advocacy. The forest products industry is circular by nature. AF&PA member companies make essential products from renewable and recycle resources, generate renewable bioenergy and are committed to continuous improvement through the industry's sustainability initiative — Better Practices, Better Planet 2030: Sustainable Products for a Sustainable Future.
The forest products industry accounts for approximately 5% of the total U.S. manufacturing GDP, manufactures about $350 billion in products annually and employs about 925,000 people. The industry meets a payroll of about $65 billion annually and is among the top 10 manufacturing sector employers in 43 states.
Read a related article: Industry CEOs Warn of Dire Economic Consequences from Proposed NAAQS Standards - Nov. 2, 2023.
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