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The EPA wants to strengthen air pollution rules — does its plan do enough?

A person walks along an overpass over a crowded highway.
People walk along an overpass above the Cross Bronx Expressway, a notorious stretch of highway in New York City that is often choked with traffic and contributes to pollution and poor air quality on November 16th, 2021, in New York City. | Photo by Spencer Platt / Getty Images

For the first time in over a decade, the Environmental Protection Agency could toughen its standard for how much soot is allowed in the air we breathe. Today, it proposed lowering the regulatory threshold for fine particulate matter, commonly called soot. Still, some major health and environmental groups say the EPA’s plan is too lenient on the pervasive pollutant that disproportionately burdens communities of color.

“Today’s proposal from EPA to update the national annual limits on particulate matter pollution misses the mark and is inadequate to protect public health from this deadly pollutant,” Harold Wimmer, president and CEO of the American Lung Association, said in a statement.

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