Back in February, 11 US states filed a lawsuit against EPA in a District Court in New York. Their complaint: the said organization didn't do its job in revising the national standards for air quality.
Thus, EPA was supposed to work on improving the existing legislation regarding soot (i.e. impure carbon particles resulting from a hydrocarbon being incompletely burnt), but somehow forgot to do so.
Apparently, EPA last had a look at the 24-hour exposure standards for fine particulate matter back in 2006, when all it did was to stand by most of what it established in 1997.
As a result of the afore-mentioned lawsuit, a new soot legislation is expected to be in place by the 14th of December, 2012.
From then on, the particulate matter standard will no longer be 15 micrograms per cubic meter, but 12 to 14 micrograms, reports Environmental Leader.
As was to be expected, oil companies, manufacturers and other industries whose activities release soot into the atmosphere tried to push for keeping the present standards.
Their main argument is that the national economy might find itself considerably affected if various businesses had to cut down on their activities to meet the new air quality expectations.
Not to mention the fact that if investments must be made to improve on existing industrial processes, some people might end up losing their jobs as a result of budget cuts.
However, it seems that whatever money losses will occur in this manner they are to be counteracted by significant savings made in the health department.
Seeing how fine particulate matter is responsible for conditions such as asthma attacks and strokes – sometimes even premature death – billions of dollars could be spared simply by no longer having to provide professional medical care to quite a lot of citizens.
From where we stand, public health is of a paramount importance and we therefore hope that high officials will place it before the well-being of various companies.