SAN DIEGO – The California Air Resources Board today approved the San Diego County State Implementation Plan (SIP) for ozone. SIPs are state and local coordinated plans designed to control air pollution emissions and reach federally established definitions of clean air. According to San Diego's plan, the region is expected to achieve attainment of the federal 8-hour ozone standards within the next two years.
"This is a true success story," said ARB Chairman, Dr. Robert F. Sawyer. "The combined efforts of the state and San Diego will make clean air a reality in the very near future."
The San Diego plan is the first SIP approved by the ARB to address the new federal 8-hour average standard for ozone adopted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2004. Ozone is a caustic gas that contributes to respiratory ailments and asthma, and can cause premature death in elderly patients with lung disease. It is a product of a photochemical process involving the sun's energy and ozone precursors, such as hydrocarbons and oxides of nitrogen. The 8-hour standard provides more health protection than the previous 1-hour standard.
The San Diego area met the 1 hour standard in 2001, and is required to meet the 8-hour standard by 2009. According to the ARB-approved plan, local controls for industrial sources, together with the State's program for reducing emissions from cars and trucks, will allow San Diego to meet the more stringent standard by 2009.
The Air Resources Board is also developing new controls to reduce emissions throughout the State, including heavily polluted areas such as the South Coast Air Basin and the San Joaquin Valley. That strategy will be considered at a June 21 and 22 hearing in Los Angeles.
CARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The CARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.