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EPA Incorporates NSSGA Recommendations in Final Particulate Matter Rule
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 21, 2006
Contact: Gus Edwards
ALEXANDRIA, Va., Sept. 21—In a nationally broadcast teleconference today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen Johnson and EPA’s Acting Assistant Administrator for Air & Radiation Bill Wehrum announced the agency’s final rule on regulation of airborne particulate matter, essentially confirming that the nation’s producers of crushed stone, sand and gravel have a negligible impact on air pollution.
The revised 2006 standards address two categories of particle pollution: fine particles (PM2.5), which are 2.5 micrometers in diameter and smaller; and inhalable coarse particles (PM10), which are smaller than 10 micrometers and larger than 2.5 micrometers.
EPA has decided to retain the existing 24-hour PM10 standard of 150 µg/m3. Due to a lack of evidence linking health problems to long-term exposure to coarse particle pollution, the agency revoked the annual PM10 standard.
“This is good news for aggregate producers nationwide,” said NSSGA president & CEO Joy Wilson. “NSSGA’s extensive air research that met EPA’s stringent criteria, has demonstrated that the aggregates industry is not a major source of coarse particulate matter. This decision by EPA today reinforces the point that today’s rigorous national standards for PM 10 are adequate to protect public health.”
The agency selected the levels for the final standards after reviewing thousands of peer-reviewed scientific studies about the effects of particle pollution on public health and welfare. External scientific advisors and the public examined EPA’s science and policy review documents. The agency also carefully considered public comments on the proposed standards. EPA held three public hearings and received more than 120,000 written comments.
Additionally, the 2006 standards tighten the 24-hour fine particle (PM 2.5), standard from 65 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3) to 35 µg/m3 and retain the current annual fine particle standard at 15 µg/m3.
Additional details of this final rule can be found at http://epa.gov/pm/naaqsrev2006.html. The fine particulate standard does not impact the construction aggregates industry.
Based near the nation’s capital, NSSGA is the world’s largest mining association by product volume. Its member companies represent more than 90 percent of the crushed stone and 70 percent of the sand and gravel produced annually in the U.S. and approximately 117,000 working men and women in the aggregates industry. During 2005, a total of about 3.2 billion tons of crushed stone, sand and gravel, valued at $17.4 billion, were produced and sold in the United States.
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