The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is about to announce new regulations governing soot — the particles that trucks, farms, factories, wildfires, power plants and dusty roads generate. By law, the agency isn’t supposed to consider the impact on polluting industries. In practice, it does — and those industries are warning of dire economic consequences.

Under the Clean Air Act, every five years the E.P.A. re-examines the science around several harmful pollutants. Fine particulate matter is extremely dangerous when it percolates into human lungs, and the law has driven a vast decline in concentrations in areas like Los Angeles and the Ohio Valley.

But technically there is no safe level of particulate matter, and ever-spreading wildfire smoke driven by a changing climate and decades of forest mismanagement has reversed recent progress. The Biden administration decided to short-circuit the review cycle after the E.P.A. in the Trump administration concluded that no change was needed. As the decision nears, business groups are ramping up resistance.

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