Air Board Approves South Coast Clean Air Plan
SACRAMENTO– A new roadmap for achieving future air pollution reductions in Southern California was approved Thursday by the California Air Resources Board (ARB).
The ARB's Board, meeting in Los Angeles, approved plans that continue moving Southern California's South Coast Air Basin toward attaining air pollution standards by the federally mandated deadline of 2010.
"Meeting the 2010 deadline will require extraordinary efforts by local, state and federal air pollution control agencies," said ARB Chairman Dr. Alan Lloyd. "We must embrace these efforts if we are to reduce air pollution and protect the health of the 15 million people living in the South Coast Basin," he added.
The Board approved a multi-faceted plan for Southern California, outlining areas where the ARB, South Coast Air Quality Management District and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) can take action to reduce air pollution.
The plan proposes ways to reduce reactive organic gasses (ROG) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) -- both smog-forming emissions -- as well as particulate matter (PM10). Measures already adopted to control the smog-forming pollutants, combined with proposed measures that are to be adopted shortly, will achieve approximately 80 percent of the needed reductions by 2010.
Approval of the plan preserves about $3 billion annually in federal transportation funds in the South Coast Air Basin. The Los Angeles region is the nation's most polluted with more than 15 million people and 12 million motor vehicles compacted into a basin ringed by mountains that trap pollutants in stagnant air where they are cooked into ozone smog by the region's high temperatures and bright sunlight. In spite of this, until recently, decades of emission control measures had brought a steady decrease in smog.
As modified at Thursday's ARB Board meeting, the South Coast District's 2003 plan now has reductions of 964 tons per day (TPD) in smog-forming emissions accounted for in control measures that have already been adopted. Other measures to be adopted between 2003 and 2008 will account for another 257 TPD in reductions. The remaining 326 TPD (about 20 percent of the reductions still needed) must come through yet-to-be determined long-term measures that will be found through a cooperative effort among ARB, the South Coast District and U.S. EPA.