EPA recommends finding that Birmingham's air meets federal standards

The EPA is recommending that the Birmingham area be declared as meeting federal air quality standards for fine particle pollution. The proposal was published today in the Federal Register.

Birmingham already has been designated as meeting air quality standards that guard against excessive daily spikes in particle and ozone pollution. Today's recommendation is to declare the area meets the annual standard for fine particle pollution, meaning that daily air quality readings averaged out over the year stay below the threshold considered unhealthy under the current standards.

"This is a huge milestone for the region and represents significant progress by the community in improving air quality over the past decade," said Alabama Power spokesman Michael Sznajderman.

However, federal officials are considering imposing stricter standards for air quality nationwide, at which point the Birmingham area could be forced to do even more to keep its air clean.