Fresno Bee Newsroom Blog

Air district board briefly confused by EPA proposal

For 15 embarrassing minutes, the local air board this week seemed as confused as the public about the federal government’s new particle pollution standard.

But the confusion did make a point. There are so many different air-quality plans, updates and bureaucratic requirements that even people who should know the score are sometimes lost.

On Thursday, several board members of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District were poised to purposely miss a federal deadline for a plan to meet the 2006 hourly standard.

It seemed pointless and expensive to approve the $1 billion cleanup for an out-of-date standard.
Why not take a little extra time to rewrite it to focus on the new standard?

But a representative of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency told them that the proposed change is for a different standard — the annual particle standard.

The board quickly and unanimously voted to approve the cleanup plan, which should clear the air by 2019.


Alan Kandel says:

In an EPA press release, is was pointed out, “It is expected that fewer than 10 counties, out of the more than 3,000 counties in the United States, will need to consider any local actions to reduce fine particle pollution in order to meet the new standard by 2020, as required by the Clean Air Act. The rest can rely on air quality improvements from federal rules already on the books to meet this new standard.”!OpenDocument

In a corresponding map, shown in green are seven counties that are projected not to meet the standard by the 2020 deadline. All are in California. Three are in the Valley: Kern, Merced and Tulare.

So, my question is this: with the new Valley air district PM 2.5 standard, once in place, will the EPA standard of 12 micrograms per cubic meter of air supersede the Valley air district standard?

By having what appears to be two different standards – one for the Valley and one for the nation as a whole – it’s confusing why not just the one national standard.

8TM says:

Thank-you for reporting on this. I was listening to the web-cast when Supervisor Worthley from Tulare County went off on this gambit. It was embarrassing enough that he seemed oblivious of the fact that the measures in the plan to meet the daily standard are in kind the same ones that will be needed to meet the new yearly standard, but I was absolutely astounded when some others on the board seemed to be making noises of agreement. Even Dr. Sherriffs seemed flummoxed to avert what was sounding like a general stampede. And it was at this point that my web-cast went to color bars. (I swear the mild imprecations I had been hurling at my computer screen just prior to the loss of transmission had nothing to do with it and I assume that whoever was running the camera simply turned it off because the episode was too humiliating for public display.) What was absolutely unmistakable in that episode is that at least some of our Air District Governing Board see as their primary goal the meeting federal requirements, not actually cleaning up our Air!

Dave says:

Disband this agency and further tell the feds to jam it. Time for a new revolution in this nation to throw the yolk of big government off our backs and prosecute the scum who have ruined our lives and continue to do so. Government does NOTHING right because they use our money to further their careers, power and money grabbing. Did I hear the death penalty?

airqualityguy says:

The manager of the air district is responsible for the confusion. He refuses to educate his board about their responsibilities. Skip Barwick is the smartest guy on that board because he admits to his ignorance about the Clean Air Act.

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