EPA Soot Standard Lowered to Reduce Pollution

The new soot standard aims to reduce the amount allowed in the air from 15 to 12 micrograms per cubic meter.

We may all breathe a little easier following the Environmental Protection Agency's new reduction of allowable soot quantities in the air. It reducts the maximum allowable amount of soot has been by 20 percent in emissions from smokestacks, diesel trucks, and other pollutant sources, from 15 micrograms per cubic meter to 12 micrograms per cubic meter.

Industry groups, including American Chemistry Council, oppose the change. Still, it is estimated that by 2020, the revised standard will be met nationwide without additional action or funding.

"These standards are fulfilling the promise of the Clean Air Act. We will save lives and reduce the burden of illness in our communities, and families across the country will benefit from the simple fact of being able to breathe cleaner air," EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said in a statement on the EPA website.

This revision does not have any effect on standards for fine and coarse particle release from farms and other sources. That standard remains the same. EPA estimates only 10 out of 3,000 U.S. counties will need to take any action to meet the soot standard by 2020 and believes efforts already in motion will be sufficient for the rest of the counties.

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