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National Ass'n of Manufacturers v. Environmental Protection Agency

ELR Citation: 44 ELR 20111
Nos. 13-1069, (D.C. Cir., 05/09/2014)

The D.C. Circuit denied industry groups' petition for review challenging EPA's 2013 primary NAAQS for fine particulate matter. In the final rule, EPA lowered the level of the particulate matter NAAQS from 15.0 μg/m3 to 12.0 μg/m3, a level slightly lower than the lowest concentrations reported as causing adverse health effects in the epidemiological studies analyzed by EPA. The groups argued that this was unreasonable, but the court disagreed. The Agency considered a broad array of scientific sources, and it offered reasoned explanations for how it approached and weighed the evidence and why the scientific evidence supported revision of the NAAQS. The final rule also eliminated a provision that had allowed certain areas to demonstrate compliance based on the averaged results from multiple monitoring sites. In so doing, EPA reasoned that the averaging provision, called "spatial averaging," could result in a standard that was not sufficiently protective of sensitive individuals living in areas with high particulate matter concentrations. Despite the groups' arguments to the contrary, the Agency reasonably explained its decision not to include spatial averaging in the final rule. Last, the groups challenged EPA's new requirement that states install additional monitors near heavily trafficked roads in urban areas where more than one million people live. Again, EPA reasonably explained that monitoring was necessary to obtain an accurate, areawide picture of ambient air quality.