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Arizona Chamber of Commerce and GOP Leaders Challenge EPA’s PM-2.5 Standard in Court

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by Patrick Paul, Shawane Lee, and John Habib

 In a move that could have significant implications for Arizona’s environmental policy and economy, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Republican leaders of the Arizona legislature have filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over its new PM-2.5 standard. The petition for review, filed on Monday, March 25, 2024, in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, challenges the EPA’s authority to impose stricter air quality standards on the state and is similar to a related court action filed three weeks ago by 24 Republican State Attorneys General. The Arizona Attorney General has not joined either action.

PM-2.5 refers to particulate matter that is 2.5 micrometers or smaller in diameter, which can penetrate deep into the lungs and pose serious health risks, particularly to vulnerable populations such as children, the elderly, and people with respiratory conditions.

The lawsuit alleges that the EPA’s new PM-2.5 standard is based on flawed science and will impose undue burdens on Arizona businesses and industries. According to the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and GOP leaders, the new standard would require costly upgrades to industrial facilities and could lead to job losses and economic hardship.

In addition to the lawsuit, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and GOP leaders have expressed concerns about the potential impact of the new PM-2.5 standard on Arizona’s economy. They argue that the standard could hinder economic growth and development in the state, particularly in industries such as manufacturing and mining.

The EPA has defended its new PM-2.5 standard, arguing that it is necessary to protect public health and the environment. The agency has cited studies linking exposure to PM-2.5 to a range of health problems, including respiratory illnesses, heart disease, and premature death.

The outcome of the lawsuit could have far-reaching implications nationwide. It also may influence the broader debate over environmental regulation and the balance between environmental protection and economic development. As the legal battle unfolds, it will be important to closely monitor developments and their potential impact on Arizona’s businesses, economy, and environment.