“Tougher air quality standards will therefore have an impact on manufacturers within areas that are subject to stricter thresholds,” the study stated. “There are various potential implications of this, depending on the extent of this pressure and the nature of manufacturers’ operations. One is that they must further invest in new technologies to reduce, or abate, the emissions associated with their operations.”

“In other cases, this may not be technologically, practically, or economically viable, meaning that companies may have to downsize, relocate, or shut down their operations to comply with tightening emissions standards,” it continued. “Any downsizing, relocation, or shutdown of manufacturers’ operations would have related implications for future business investment, workers and the communities they operate in, as well as the suppliers and customers that rely on their operations.”

Julio Ventura welds a screed bottom for a commercial class road paver at the Calder Brothers factory in Taylors, South Carolina, U.S., in this handout picture taken July 18, 2021. Brandon Granger/Calder Brothers Corporation/Handout via REUTERS

Workers weld a commercial class road paver at a factory in Taylors, South Carolina, on July 18, 2021. (Brandon Granger / Calder Brothers Corporation / Handout via Reuters / File / Reuters Photos)

On Jan. 6, the EPA released the proposed air quality standards, which seek to curb fine particles, or soot, in an effort to protect Americans from health effects like asthma attacks, heart attacks and premature death. The air quality rules, however, would largely impact industrial and manufacturing activity, potentially forcing companies to offshore operations and import more products, the Oxford Economics study found.

The regulations would lower the annual PM2.5 standard from a level of 12 micrograms per cubic meter to a level between 9 and 10 micrograms per cubic meter. The agency said it would also take feedback on a reduction to 8 micrograms per cubic meter.


EPA Administrator Michael Regan said the rules would help ensure communities are protected from exposure to harmful pollution. NAM’s Timmons, though, said at the time that the EPA’s proposal was the “wrong approach.”

The EPA declined to comment on the projected economic impacts of the proposal.