- WEB EXCLUSIVE
- PE COFFEEHAUS
Under the proposed changes, the AQI would reach "code orange" – unhealthy for sensitive groups – when particle pollution levels reach 35.5 micrograms per cubic meter of air (ug/m3). The changes also would mean air quality reaches the "unhealthy" category at a lower particle pollution level.
These proposed changes likely would not have a noticeable impact on daily air quality forecasts, the agency said. States have been voluntarily forecasting code orange when particle pollution reaches 35 ug/m3), the same level as the revised daily health standard. The agency revised this standard in September 2006.
The proposed rule also would set a significant harm level equal to an AQI value of 500. The EPA is seeking comment on its proposal for setting the 500 AQI level. The agency said it will take comment for 60 days after the proposal is published in the Federal Register and will hold a public hearing on March 5, 2009, at the Intercontinental Dallas, 15201 Dallas Parkway, Addison, Texas.
In addition, the EPA will host a blog to provide the public additional avenues for discussing this proposal. Comments to the blog will not be considered official comments for the record. However, the blog will provide readers with easy links for submitting official comments. The blog will open the week of March 2, 2009, the same week as the public hearing. EPA will notify the public about how to participate in the blog and how to be notified when the blog is open.