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New Soot Limits Will Challenge Some SoCal Counties

The EPA’s new air quality standards reduce the amount of soot allowed in the air

Craig Miller/KQED

Soot comes from diesel trucks, industrial emissions and fires.

Two California counties are already behind the eight-ball with the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed new limits on soot. San Bernardino and Riverside are the only counties in the country that the EPA projects will not be able to adhere to the upper limits of its new range.

Soot has been linked to asthma, heart attacks and strokes and it’s also a culprit in climate change. The nasty stuff, also known as black carbon, comes from smoke from fires, diesel tailpipes and industrial emissions.

The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing an update to its national air quality standards, which seeks to lower the amount of soot in the atmosphere. The new rule would limit the annual exposure to fine particle pollution to between 12-and-13 micrograms per cubic meter. The current standard is 15 micrograms per cubic meter.

The New York Times’ Green blog writes that the EPA had delayed issuing the politically volatile proposal until it was ordered to by a federal court judge. California was one of the states that challenged the delay: Continue reading