- WEB EXCLUSIVE
- PE COFFEEHAUS
The EPA on Monday announced it has notified 25 governors and 23 tribal leaders that certain areas in their states and tribal lands do not meet the agency's daily standards for fine particle pollution, also known as PM 2.5.
"These designations are an important step in our steady march toward cleaner air," said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. "We will continue working with our state and tribal partners to meet these air quality standards."
The agency spent much of 2008 reviewing recommendations from states and tribes along with public comments before making its decision to designate 211 counties and parts of counties as not meeting its PM 2.5 standards. Preliminary designations were completed early this year, and those areas in nonattainment had until November to contest their inclusion. The new designations are final.
These areas, called nonattainment areas, include counties with monitors violating the standards and nearby areas that contribute to that violation. Affected states and tribes will be required to take steps to reduce the pollution that forms fine particles. The vast majority of U.S. counties and tribal lands are meeting these standards, but will need to continue working to maintain clean air.
In 2006, the EPA strengthened the 24-hour fine particle standards from 65 micrograms per cubic meter to 35 micrograms per cubic meter of air to protect public health. Nationwide, monitored levels of fine particle pollution fell 11 percent from 2000 to 2007.