ARB Approves San Joaquin Valley State Implementation Plan
For immediate release
FRESNO– A new roadmap for achieving clean air reductions in the San Joaquin Valley was approved today by the California Air Resources Board (ARB). The Board meeting in Fresno approved a plan that continues moving the Valley toward attainment of air pollution standards by the federal deadline of 2010.
ARB Chairman, Dr. Alan Lloyd said, "The Valley's clean air plan is needed to protect the health of the region's citizens who currently breathe some of the nation's worst air. This new plan will continue the work already in progress to reduce ozone and particulate levels throughout the region."
The Board approved a multi-faceted plan for the Valley, outlining areas where the ARB and San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (APCD) must take action to reduce air pollution. The new plan was required after the APCD voluntarily requested a "Bump Up" from its severe designation to extreme. That change gave the region an added five years to attain the clean air requirements, but also required a new plan to be generated that demonstrates how the added pollution will be controlled. The Valley's new State Implementation Plan (SIP) was approved by the APCD at its October hearing.
The plan includes ways to reduce reactive organic gases (ROG) and nitrogen oxides (NOx), both ozone precursors and builds on already approved strategies to control particulate matter (PM). Measures already adopted to control these pollutants will achieve approximately 70 percent, or 238 tons per day (tpd) of the 342 tpd in pollution reductions needed by 2010. Another 13 percent (46 tpd) of the needed cuts are derived from new measures approved as part of the Valley's 2003 SIP. The remaining 17 percent (58 tpd) of the plan's reductions must come from new measures approved by the APCD at its October hearing.
To achieve those added reductions, the district plan contains 12 new measures that will reduce 23 tpd of pollution. The most significant new measure will cut volative organic compound (VOC) emissions from large animal farms (primarily dairies) by over 15 tpd. The plan also relies on new state measures that will cut ozone-forming pollution by an additional 35 tpd.
The Central Valley is the state's second most polluted area behind the Los Angeles region, with an average of about 30 violations above the federal one-hour ozone standard of 120 parts per billion (ppb) each year. Typically, those violations have peak ozone levels of about 160 ppb.
The Valley also has one of the state's highest rates of childhood asthma, purported by many as a result of the region's poor air quality. The ARB has been conducting a research project in Fresno to better determine the causes and levels of childhood asthma in the region.
Much of the data used to develop the measures contained in the SIP are a result of research done as part of the regional Central California Ozone Study. That $18 million research project was conducted to develop the best data available to pinpoint sources of pollution and to determine the best tools for controlling it. Data collected during the CCOS project provides the basis for the air quality modeling and attainment demonstration in the Valley's 2004 SIP.