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Particulate Matter (PM)

Reducing Particle Pollution

Logo for The Great American Wood Stove Changeout

Did you know? Replacing 20 non-certified, older stoves with 20 EPA certified stoves can prevent the emissions of one ton of particle pollution (PM2.5).

EPA’s national and regional rules to reduce emissions of pollutants that form particle pollution will help state and local governments meet the Agency’s national air quality standards. A number of voluntary programs also are helping areas reduce their fine particle pollution. Some of these rules and programs are listed below.

Power Plants and Industries

EPA’s 2005 Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) will dramatically reduce fine particle pollution in the east by permanently capping emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx).

Clean Air Visibility Rule (2005) – These final amendments to EPA’s 1999 Regional Haze Rule require emission controls for industrial facilities emitting air pollutants that reduce visibility, including fine particle pollution and gases that contribute to fine particle formation.

EPA’s Acid Rain Program uses a combination of traditional requirements and a market-based cap and trade program to reduce power plant emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur dioxide (SO2), which contribute both to acid rain and to fine particle formation.

EPA’s NOx SIP Call, designed to reduce the regional transport of ground-level ozone pollution in the East, also reduces fine particle formation by reducing emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx).

Mobile Sources

The 2004 Clean Air Nonroad Diesel Rule set emission standards for the engines used in most construction, agricultural, and industrial equipment, and reduces the amount of sulfur allowed in the fuel they use.

The 2007 Clean Diesel Trucks and Buses Rule, issued in December 2000, will put the cleanest running heavy-duty trucks and buses in history on America’s roads, building a fleet that will be 95 percent cleaner than today’s trucks and buses.

Tier 2 Vehicle Emission Standards and Gasoline Sulfur Program treats all passenger vehicles and the fuels they use as a system, setting tailpipe emissions standards for all passenger vehicle beginning with the 2004 model year, and requiring reduced levels of sulfur in gasoline.

Emissions standards for highway motorcycles along with standards for engines that power forklifts, electric generators, recreational boat engines, snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles and offroad motorbikes and also will help reduce fine particle pollution.

EPA has announced its intent to propose more stringent standards, modeled after the Clean Air Nonroad Diesel Engines Program, for locomotives and for all new commercial, recreational, and auxiliary marine diesel engines except the very large engines used for propulsion on deep-sea vessels.

Voluntary Programs

A number of EPA voluntary programs also play an important role in reducing particle-forming emissions. These programs include:

National Clean Diesel Campaign - The voluntary aspects of this campaign reduce particle pollution through programs such as the Voluntary Diesel Retrofit Program, the Smartway Transport Partnership and Clean School Buses USA.

The Great American Woodstove Changeout - This voluntary program reduces particle pollution from woodstoves by encouraging people to replace older, more polluting stoves with EPA-certified stoves and fireplace inserts. Also provides information on building more efficient, less polluting fires.

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