WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, led a group of her colleagues in introducing legislation to improve how the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administers the national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) program under the Clean Air Act, making the program more cost-effective for states to implement and protecting American jobs.

The National Ambient Air Quality Standards Implementation Act of 2023 would improve the processes both for EPA to revise current NAAQS and for states to implement the standards. Under the Clean Air Act’s NAAQS program, the EPA sets standards for six criteria pollutants, including ground-level ozone and particulate matter. Earlier this year, the EPA proposed to make the NAAQS for particulate matter (PM2.5) more stringent and is considering updating the standards for ozone and lead. Historically, the EPA has consistently missed statutory deadlines for both reviewing standards and for providing implementation guidance to states. Capito’s legislation would address these issues and set a more reasonable and attainable schedule for EPA actions.

“As the EPA is currently in the process of updating its air quality standards, we must ensure states and employers aren’t unfairly penalized by unrealistic or burdensome new rules,” Ranking Member Capito said. “The NAAQS Implementation Act of 2023 would provide needed clarity and flexibility as the EPA proposes and implements these air quality standards, while at the same time protecting American infrastructure and manufacturing jobs.”

Cosponsors of Capito’s legislation include U.S. Senators John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).

“The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has continually moved the goalposts on air quality standards,” Senator Barrasso said. “These everchanging standards have significant consequences for economic growth, manufacturing, and job creation in every corner of America. This important bill will rein in this regulatory overreach and ensure the EPA can no longer change the rules in the middle of the game.”

“Local governments and businesses shouldn’t be punished by cumbersome new rules arbitrarily set by federal agencies,” Senator Cornyn said. “Our legislation would give states the certainty and flexibility they need to comply with new air quality standards without sacrificing critical jobs and infrastructure, and I applaud Ranking Member Capito’s leadership on this issue.”

“The EPA is considering sweeping, one-size-fits-all changes to air quality standards that would place excessive compliance burdens on states, small businesses, and even individual homeowners,” Senator Sullivan said. “In Fairbanks and North Pole, the EPA has already threatened to mandate air quality standards on an impossible timeline, burdening the community and the state and jeopardizing our ability to fund much-needed infrastructure improvements. It’s remarkable that the administration is even entertaining this rash of new red tape on an economy still reeling from historic inflation and endless permitting delays. I’m glad to put forward legislation with Senator Capito to restore sanity to the EPA’s air quality standards, ensuring they account for the unique circumstances of communities in Alaska and across the country and do not unnecessarily hamper the economic well-being of Americans."


“Manufacturing in the U.S. is among the cleanest in the world. Unfortunately, when federal agencies continually revise standards it creates unpredictability, making it extraordinarily difficult to create new manufacturing jobs, protect workers, modernize our infrastructure and drive investment in America. The NAM thanks Senator Capito for introducing the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) Implementation Act of 2023, which brings regulatory certainty for air quality standards, including the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed regulations for particulate matter (PM2.5). With a more predictable process, the U.S. can continue to build on its strong record of environmental stewardship by boosting domestic manufacturing, which is environmentally cleaner than our international competitors,” Jay Timmons, President and CEO, National Association of Manufacturers, said.


The National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) Implementation Act of 2023 would:

  • Change the mandatory review of NAAQS from 5 to 10 years.
  • Authorize the EPA to consider technological feasibility consideration when revising NAAQS.
  • Ensure the EPA issues timely implementation regulations and guidance when revising NAAQS.
  • Ensure that for certain ozone and particulate matter nonattainment areas, states are not required to include economically infeasible measures in their plans.
  • Ensure that states may seek relief with respect to certain exceptional events, including droughts, under Section 319 of the Clean Air Act.
  • Direct EPA to submit a report to Congress within 2 years regarding the impacts of foreign emissions on NAAQS compliance.

The full text of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) Implementation Act of 2023 can be found here.

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