EPA Announces Proposed Rule to Reduce Particulate Matter in Air Pollution
Federal environmental officials have proposed new regulations that would tighten air quality standards for the first time in a decade, forcing refineries, power plants, and other large polluting facilities throughout the U.S. to cut particulate matter emissions. On January 2023, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a new rule to strengthen the national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) for fine particle matter (PM 2.5) air pollution, as part of an effort to reduce the negative impact of air pollution on human health in the U.S., especially among disadvantaged communities. The new rule would strengthen the primary standard from 12 micrograms per cubic meter to between 9 and 10 mcg per cubic meter, and comes after the Trump administration rejected stricter air pollution standards in 2020. But the regulation is much stricter than the rule issued by the Obama administration in 2012. The change will impact air pollution emitted from sources like construction sites, unpaved roads, fields, smokestacks, or fires. Other types of PM 2.5 air pollution form in the atmosphere from reactions of chemicals like sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, pollutants emitted by power plants, industrial facilities, and vehicles.