EPA proposes more strict regulations on particulate pollution

Updated Jan 12, 2023
A truck in traffic with exhaust.

The EPA on Friday announced a proposal to reduce fine particle pollution. 

This kind of pollution, also called soot, comes from construction sites, unpaved roads, fields, smokestacks and vehicles. The proposal will take comment on changing the particulate matter from 12 micrograms per cubic meter to between 9 and 10 micrograms per cubic meter. The agency will also take comment on another, lower range -- between 8-11 micrograms, a number included in the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee's latest report. 

"Our work to deliver clean, breathable air for everyone is a top priority at EPA, and this proposal will help ensure that all communities, especially the most vulnerable among us, are protected from exposure to harmful pollution," says EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. "This proposal to deliver stronger health protections against particulate matter is grounded in the best available science." 

EPA is also proposing to revise monitoring requirements and the Air Quality Index, which will help states and tribal nations meet revised standards. The 24-hour standard for particulate pollution is 35 micrograms per cubic meter. It will take comment on lowering that level to as low as 25 micrograms per cubic meter. 

Comment will be accepted for 60 days after the proposal is published in the Federal Register. It will also conduct a virtual public hearing over several days, with hearings beginning at 11 a.m. Eastern and concluding at 7 p.m. Eastern. You can pre-register for the meeting after the proposal is published in the Federal Register.

This proposal is part of a more broad clean air package that includes the Clean Trucks Rule, finalized last month, which aims to lower nitrous oxide emissions. 

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