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EPA to hold public hearings on National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Particulates

UTAH — Winter is inversion season in the Salt Lake City area. The time of year when particulates are trapped and air quality plummets.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Particulate Matter 2.5 currently lists a 24-hour standard of 35 micrograms per cubic meter and an annual of 12 micrograms per cubic meter as thresholds for when the air becomes unhealthy. While these levels have been in place since 2012, the EPA is asking for public input on a proposed rule reconsidering those values.

Public hearings on the proposed new rule will take place from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. eastern time on February 21-23. To participate, registration is required and will close on February 16.

The air quality problem in many areas of Utah seems to be growing in a one-step forward, two-step-back trajectory. While more electric cars replace combustion engine vehicles, the power needed to charge them mostly comes from a pollutant-causing energy source. Combustion cars have gotten cleaner over the years, but population growth means more vehicles are on the road.

While a new set of standards won’t fix those problems with the stroke of a pen, it will hold industry and other players to a higher standard in which particulate pollution must be reduced.

Registration for the proposed rule for the reconsideration of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for particulate matter can be found on the EPA website.,

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