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New Jersey and EPA Take Steps To Implement New Soot Standards

Release Date: 05/30/1998
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(#98061) Trenton, N.J. -- The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will take a major step toward implementing the new federal air standards for fine particles on Monday when they hold the first of two public workshops on monitoring these fine particles, commonly known as soot. The workshop will be used to discuss where new air pollution monitors that measure fine particles will be placed in New Jersey. The State currently runs a network of monitors that measure larger soot particles. However, this network will be enhanced so that it can measure the very finest particles, called PM 2.5, which are now regulated under new EPA air pollution standards adopted last summer. The two workshops, Monday, June 1 in Elizabeth New Jersey and Thursday, June 4 in Gibbstown, will give the public an opportunity to ask questions and comment on the new monitor locations proposed by the NJDEP.

"New Jersey supported EPA's new standards, and we are now making sure that the public is involved in the implementation process," said Jeanne M. Fox, EPA Region 2 Administrator. "This will give New Jerseyans a chance to learn more about the new air pollution standards, which go a long way toward protecting people from the harmful and irritating effects of air pollution."

"Pollution from particles not only damages our health and personal welfare but damages our ecosystem as well," said NJDEP Commissioner Robert Shinn. "New Jersey's integrated monitoring system will be the first of its kind in the nation, providing state of the art monitoring information as well as tracking transported regional haze. By conducting these workshops, we are encouraging the public to be part of the process."

In July 1997, EPA adopted tough new air pollution standards for two of the country's most common air pollutants -- fine particles and ground-level ozone, also known as smog. In order to help states implement the new standards nationwide, EPA will provide states with the monitors and financial support to establish fine particle sampling stations at 1500 locations. New Jersey is proposing to monitor fine particle at 23 locations. Certain, more sophisticated monitors will have the capability to identify the sources of the fine particles. NJDEP will run the monitoring network and gather data to determine, over a three-year period, what areas of New Jersey already meet the tough new federal air pollution standard. Using this information, New Jersey will then develop a plan to combat fine particles in areas of the state that do not meet the new standards.

"EPA recognizes that it won't be easy for many states to implement these new, more protective standards, so we're giving them a boost by providing the monitors that they need to assess the extent of the fine particle problem," said Fox.

Nationwide, it is estimated that these pollutants cause 15,000 premature deaths, aggravate asthma, which causes hundreds of thousands of asthma attacks each year, and cause other respiratory problems for millions of Americans. The federal Clean Air Act requires EPA to every five years, review its standards for certain air pollutants. As part of this review process, EPA scrutinized thousands of scientific health studies on fine particles and ground-level ozone and determined that new tougher standards were needed to protect human health. The Agency adopted new standards for fine particles and ground-level ozone in July 1997. States must have the new PM 2.5 monitors in operation by the end of 1999. They will collect three years of data to determine whether or not they meet the standard. Depending on the severity of its pollution problem, a state will be required to meet the fine particle standard between 2012 and 2017.

For more information contact:
Mary Mears, Press Office
EPA Region 2
290 Broadway
NY, NY 10007-1866
Voice: 212-637-3669 FAX: 212-637-5046 E-Mail: