The Southeast Michigan Council of Governments has announced that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has officially redesignated Southeast Michigan as an "attainment" area for the national fine particulate air quality standards. The region had been designated as "nonattainment" for the annual fine particulate standard in previous years, but the State of Michigan and local stakeholders developed and implemented a cost-effective control strategy to lower the levels of the pollutant in the area that was experiencing problems. SEMCOG's JoAnn Weidner says fine particulate levels are too small to be seen by the naked eye, but can pass through the nose and be absorbed into the lungs. Some of the main sources of fine particulates are fuel combustion by cars and trucks, as well as trains and power plants. Weidner says it's a quality-of-life issue for residents, and in addition, it gives a boost to our local economy by removing several regulatory requirements that made it harder for certain types of businesses to locate or expand in the region.