Twin Cities ahead of air pollution standardby Stephanie Hemphill, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — The federal government has proposed a tighter standard for fine particles in the air and the Twin Cities metro, as most cities in the country, is already on track to meet it.
The standard is for fine particles in the air. Minneapolis and St. Paul meet it on an annual average basis, and occasionally exceed it when pollution spikes during air inversions.
The Twin Cities' current annual average of airborne fine particles is ten micrograms per cubic meter, and the Environmental Protection Agency is proposing a new limit between 12 and 13.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's Catherine Neuschler says a group tackling pollution, the Clean Air Dialogue, will continue its work.
"Just looking at how we can get new ideas, new programs, new areas where we can reduce air pollution, just to make sure we stay with that air quality better than that federal standard," Neuschler said.
The EPA also proposes a limit for haze in urban areas. Neuschler expects the metro area to meet that standard as well. The state will set up a new monitor near an urban highway to learn more.
Neuschler says the state will not be penalized for the occasional high reading.
"The kinds of controls and measures that will help you bring down the annual standard will, of course, also help you bring down your high levels," Neuschler said. "That daily standard is a supplement to make sure we don't get really high numbers on a small number of days. But they really view the annual standard as being the controlling one, they describe it as."