Forced by a lawsuit by eleven states including Oregon and Washington, the EPA proposed tighter standards for fine particle pollution. The proposed regulation covers particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns. If adopted, the annual standard would be reduced from 15 micrograms per cubic meter to 12-13 micrograms per cubic meter. The existing 24-hour standard of 35 micrograms would be retained. States would have until 2020 to comply. EPA modeling predicts that only six counties in the U.S. will be unable to comply if the standard is set at 12 micrograms per cubic meter. Health advocates predict setting the standard at 12 would prevent 15,000 premature deaths annually and generate $118 billion in economic benefit. EPA estimates implementation will cost $69 million. EPA is accepting public comment for the next two months and will issue final rules in December.