Merced SunStar comments on SB 719

In a recent article on the passing of SB 719 the Merced Sun Star presented a balanced piece regarding the successful passing of the legislation.

One of the comments on the website asked the question:

If the SJV air district is doing such a bad job, why is the USEPA about to announce them in attainment for PM10 (particulate matter)? The natural geography of the valley basin coupled with two major highways running the length jammed with trucks and vehicles so the emissions get trapped is not going to get fixed by throwing political appointments at it. Cleaning the air in the valley is an extremely complex issue. It is a slap in the face to the air district scientists and engineers that are working hard to find viable solutions. Unless you want to walk around in a fig leaf and not drive your car at all, do not throw stones and imply there is a simple answer to any of this.

The Valley Air district has been making some great progress in many areas. Indeed the PM10 compliance is to be applauded.

However, in some areas the air district has been accused of not moving fast enough. An example of this is the 8 hour ozone plan (or SIP).

During the summer the air district voted to put the valley into the most extreme EPA category possible, delaying the valleys attainment date by over a decade to 2024. The board cited the fact that even if money was no object (e.g. we bought everyone in the valley a hybrid vehicle) we could not reach attainment sooner.

This was in contradiction to an independent scientific study that proposed attainment was realistic by 2018. A lot of people feel the health impact of this delay was not taken into consideration, hence Florez proposing we add health and air pollution experts to the board.

Mike Nelson, County Supervisor for Merced who sits on the board has publicly stated that he does not understand the details, and just follows the recommendations of the staff. SB 719 aims to help Mike by adding experts to the board who do understand.

We are quite right to applaud the Valley Air district on their achievements, I believe SB 719 will allow them to succeed even more


  1. Stuart Said,

    September 21, 2007 @ 2:27 pm

    A response to my comment in the Merced Sun-Star:

    in response to stuart: Moving the deadline out was the only realistic thing that could happen if you want jobs and an economy in the SJV. No one talked about the fact that moving the deadline out means changing the status thus requiring a lower permitting threshold so more sources would have been under permit for the first time and required to make improvements. An independent study….you must be joking. That was NOT a factual document by any stretch of the imagination. Unless folks want to make big life changes, strangling your businesses will not clean up the air in the valley. Stop simplying this situation and take some responsibility

  2. Stuart Said,

    September 21, 2007 @ 2:28 pm

    I said: I am glad we agree that we all must make life changing decisions in order to help clean up the air. Unfortunately, sometimes these decisions are not made without a regulatory body offering incentives or other forms of encouragement such as regulation. You are correct that the central valley’s economy is vitally important to both its residents, and the nation as a whole. However the central valley air pollution already negatively impacts our economy; $270 million dollars a year in damaged agricultural crops, and $3 Billion dollars a year in associated health care costs, and lost work time. These figures are from the Valley Air District. The question I suppose I am asking is: How best is it to bite the bullet? Up front costs by taking action through incentives or regulatory means, or hidden costs such as associated healthcare and agricultural losses. You are absolutely correct saying that this is not a problem that can be simplified, indeed it is very complex, that requires experts in the various fields to be able to analyze the data and make the correct decisions based on an understanding of the issue. This is exactly why SB 719 was proposed.

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