Soot standard Jackson’s finale?

EPA administrator tightens soot regulations before stepping down

In one of the last moves Lisa Jackson will oversee as administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), national regulations of soot emissions have been tightened.

As of Dec. 14, the new standard for the amount of permissible soot in the air is 12 micrograms per cubic meter of air, down from 1997’s standard of 15 micrograms, according to The Washington Post.

Soot, or fine particulate matter, is the nation’s most widespread deadly pollutant and is the result of emissions from sources like diesel vehicles, coal plants and wood fires. In 2009, a court ruling mandated the EPA rewrite soot standards to comply with the advice of scientific advisers, which found the 1997 standards inadequate.

Jackson (pictured), the first African-American EPA administrator, announced on Dec. 27 she would step down next month. During her tenure, she oversaw major improvements in vehicle emissions standards and new controls on mercury in power-plant fumes, and ruled that greenhouse gases should be classified as pollutants.

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