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Air Quality

Our positions

EMA supports regulations for clean air that ensure safe and breathable air for our members as well as the communities they work and live in. EMA members strive to comply with federal, state, local, and tribal laws and regulations governing air emissions. However, such air regulations must also conform to the parameters of established law, be reasonable and achievable for our members to comply with, and avoid being so burdensome that companies cannot comply while remaining globally competitive.


PM 2.5 National Ambient Air Quality Standard

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a rule to reconsider the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for fine particulate matter (PM2.5), which will have an adverse impact on the minerals industry.

The nation’s air quality has significantly improved, with a 42 percent reduction in PM2.5 since 2000. Recent analysis conducted by the EPA found that fewer than 20 percent of PM2.5 emissions are from industrial processes or stationary fuel consumption. Most emissions are from sources well outside of our control, with fires, road dust, agriculture, and other nonpoint sources.

Despite this progress, the EPA reduced allowable emissions levels by 25 percent, putting innovation and economic growth at risk. With the standard set at what are essentially background levels, this rule will make it difficult for EMA members to obtain permits for the construction of new mines and processing facilities and to maintain compliance for existing facilities. This puts the United States at a competitive disadvantage by making it more difficult to construct or expand factories at a time when firms are actively seeking to diversify their supply chains and spur new industrial investments.

EMA provided detailed comments to EPA on the proposed PM2.5 rule pointing out many problems; however, EPA published the final rule without taking them into account.

Good Neighbor Rule

As part of the Clean Air Act, EPA issued a rule to regulate emissions of nitrogen oxides in 26 upwind states that EPA asserts are preventing downwind states from obtaining compliance with the 2015 National Ambient Air Quality Standard. EMA filed comments with EPA asserting that EPA based its requirements for this “good neighbor” rule on low-quality information and a rushed and flawed analysis. The requirements are not supported by quality science, constitute over-control, and would require a huge investment for an impact in downwind states that is not measurable. The final rule is now currently in litigation.


Fugitive Emissions Rule

Air Emissions Reporting Requirements

The Air Emissions Reporting Requirements is the tool in which state/local/tribal agencies report actual emissions of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs). However, EPA expanded reporting requirements to include permanent reporting directly by more than 130,000 individual facilities, the majority of which are not major sources of HAPs. This was done despite a lack of any analysis that current standards are not meeting toxic air emissions reduction targets. The rule’s regulation of mobile sources would also be particularly harmful to EMA members due to the large numbers or mobile equipment used in the mining process. The additional reporting requirements for facilities are burdensome and costly to the minerals industry and would put strains on the industry instead of helping to ensure our ability to bring critical domestic minerals to the market.