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API Supports Maintaining Strong Air Quality Standards

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WASHINGTON, December 23, 2020 – The American Petroleum Institute (API) today welcomed the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final decision to retain the existing ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), which the EPA is required to review every five years under the Clean Air Act. The decision follows the EPA’s review of scientific evidence and public health assessments that found the existing standards protect the public while supporting a downward trend in U.S. emissions and cleaner air quality. 


“American energy leadership and environmental progress have thrived under the existing standards, thanks in large part to cleaner fuels, advanced technologies and industry actions to reduce emissions,” API Senior Vice President of Policy, Economics and Regulatory Affairs Frank Macchiarola said. “Americans are breathing the cleanest air in half a century, and with smart regulations, we can continue to meet our shared goals of reducing emissions, protecting public health and developing affordable, reliable and cleaner energy.” 


API and groups across several industry sectors support EPA’s decision to retain the national limits of 70 parts per billion (ppb), the ozone standards set by the Obama administration in 2015. Under the existing standards, the regulated sectors have innovated and taken action, including the production of cleaner motor vehicle and power generation fuels to reduce emissions, while continuing to support the American economy.


According to the EPA, 8-hour average ozone levels in ambient air in the United States have fallen 25 percent since 1990, and combined emissions from the six common pollutants dropped by 77 percent between 1970 and 2019. During this same period, U.S. gross domestic product increased 285 percent, vehicle miles traveled increased 195 percent, and energy consumption increased 49 percent. To review the EPA’s latest information on the nation’s air quality status and trends through 2019, click here.


API represents all segments of America’s oil and natural gas industry. Our more than 600 members produce, process and distribute most of the nation’s energy. The industry supports more than ten million U.S. jobs and is backed by a growing grassroots movement of millions of Americans. API was formed in 1919 as a standards-setting organization. In our first 100 years, API has developed more than 700 standards to enhance operational and environmental safety, efficiency and sustainability.