Cox among 22 Republican governors urging pause to new EPA air quality rule

By: Michael Achterling, Utah News Dispatch

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox and 21 other Republican governors called Thursday for the Environmental Protection Agency to pause its new rule that limits fine particles in the air.

In a letter addressed to EPA Administrator Michael Regan, the governors wrote the new rule will hit rural communities the hardest. The rule, which changes the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for fine particulate matter, is scheduled to take effect May 6.

“So much of the PM 2.5 that we experience in Utah comes from wildfires which are typically on federal land. So it adds insult to injury to punish states for the impact on air quality that stems in part from a federal failure to manage their own forests,” Cox told Utah News Dispatch.

Rural communities and businesses will be forced to make air quality changes at a higher cost per capita than other areas and will struggle to meet the standards, the governors wrote.

The governors also estimated that 20% of U.S. counties will be deemed non-compliant once the rule goes into effect, the letter said.

The EPA said the rule protects “millions of Americans from harmful and costly health impacts, such as heart attacks and premature death,” according to the agency’s website.

The EPA also said particle, or soot, pollution is one of the most dangerous forms of air pollution.

The letter was signed by the Republican governors of: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.

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