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House Democrats urge EPA to tighten proposed standards for particulate matter


From the December 13, 2012 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published December 13, 2012

By Robert Varela
Editorial Director
A group of 56 House Democrats concerned about environmental justice has called on the Environmental Protection Agency to tighten its proposed standards for fine particulate matter. In a Dec. 10 letter, the House Democrats, led by Rep. Charles Rangel of New York, urged EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to set the annual standard for fine particulate matter (known as PM2.5) at 11 micrograms per cubic meter and the 24-hour standard at 25 micrograms per cubic meter. They also called for an expanded network of monitors near major roadways.

EPA has proposed to reduce the current annual limit of 15 micrograms per cubic meter to 12 to 13 micrograms per cubic meter. The agency has not proposed to change the 24-hour standard of 35 micrograms per cubic meter.

"Because of the disproportionate impact of pollution on low-income communities of color, we encourage EPA to enact these safeguards to reduce the number of hospital admissions, emergency room visits and premature deaths related to cardiovascular and respiratory complications," the House members said. "Not only does this make good moral sense, it makes fiscal sense as well."

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