Florida shines under new national air quality standards

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Florida is a national leader in air quality.

Often, Florida feels the heavy hand of the federal government when the Joe Biden administration rolls out new regulations.

Policies advanced by a Democrat in the White House tend to infringe on the rights freedom-loving Floridians fear, impose new costs on businesses and stand in the way of prosperity.

But one recent reg rolled out by Biden’s U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proves to be the exception to the rule. New air quality standards were introduced by the EPA last week to protect families, workers and communities, and these standards do not harm the Sunshine State.

Instead, they demonstrate that Florida is a national leader in air quality.

The new annual health-based national ambient air quality standard for fine particulate matter (PM2.5) is reduced from 12 micrograms per cubic meter to 9 micrograms per cubic meter. Along with strengthening the primary annual PM2.5 standard, EPA is modifying the PM2.5 monitoring network design criteria to include a factor that accounts for the proximity of populations at increased risk of PM2.5-related health effects to sources of air pollution.

This will advance environmental justice by ensuring localized data collection in overburdened areas to inform future NAAQS reviews.

“This final air quality standard will save lives and make all people healthier, especially within America’s most vulnerable and overburdened communities,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan.

Air monitoring data from the EPA from 2020-2022 reveals all but two counties in Florida (Broward and Escambia) meet the new, stricter federal standards. In other words, the vast majority of Floridians enjoy excellent air quality.

Cleaner air means that our children have brighter futures, and people can live more productive and active lives, improving our ability to grow and develop as a nation.

On the state level, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) monitors air quality.

“The state of Florida has one of the best outdoor air quality monitoring networks in the country,” according to its website, “enabling the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to provide accurate and timely data to the state’s residents and visitors.”

“Thanks to a statewide effort, emissions in Florida continue to decrease and are now the lowest they have been on record.”

According to the EPA, particle pollution is of great concern to those with heart or lung disease and other vulnerable communities, including children, older adults, and people with health conditions like asthma, as well as already overburdened communities, including many communities of color and low-income communities throughout the United States.

The EPA’s efforts to strengthen the Clean Air Act standard for fine particle pollution are intended to improve air quality nationally, ensuring that communities overburdened by pollution are not left behind.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises Media and is the publisher of FloridaPolitics.com, INFLUENCE Magazine, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Previous to his publishing efforts, Peter was a political consultant to dozens of congressional and state campaigns, as well as several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella. Follow Peter on Twitter @PeterSchorschFL.


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