- WEB EXCLUSIVE
- PE COFFEEHAUS
Using the 2006 to 2008 data, 91 U.S. counties that were identified as nonattainment in December 2008 are now meeting the standards. The new data also showed that four new counties in three states are violating the daily PM 2.5 standards, the annual PM 2.5 standards, or both. The EPA will work with these four counties to evaluate air monitoring data and other factors to make final designations by early 2010.
In December 2008, after closely reviewing recommendations from states and tribes along with public comments, the EPA identified attainment and nonattainment areas based on air quality monitoring data from 2005 through 2007. The December 2008 designations were never published in the Federal Register and have been under review. Because the 2008 air quality data is the most recent, the EPA used this data to make final designations, the agency said in its release.
Affected states and tribes will be required to take steps to reduce the pollution that forms fine particles. The majority of U.S. counties and tribal lands met the standards.
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 19 percent from 2000 to 2008.