Saturday, June 19, 2010

Cleaner Air in the Valley

As reported by the Fresno Bee.

An excerpt.

“The Valley is on course to achieve the federal ozone standard by 2022 -- two years ahead of schedule if improvements continue as they have in the past decade, air officials said Thursday.

“There has been a 44% reduction in violations over the last decade, officials said, crediting tough rules, industry investments in clean-air technology and cooperation from the public. At that rate, the standard will be achieved early, officials said.

“But steep challenges remain, said Seyed Sadredin, executive director of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District….

"We're not hanging a 'Mission Accomplished' banner," he said. "We're still one of the worst air basins in the country."

“During the past decade, the Valley has ranked alongside the South Coast Air Basin with the most ozone violations. Last year, South Coast had the nation's highest number of ozone violations with 113. The Valley was second with 98.

“The violations are linked to the 1997 standard. Federal officials soon are expected to come up with a far more stringent ozone standard that might be impossible to reach by the deadline of 2031.

“Ozone is a corrosive gas that forms in warm, sunny weather when nitrogen oxides from vehicles combine with fumes from dairies, gasoline and solvents. The pollutant triggers lung problems, such as asthma.

“The Valley produces 40% fewer ozone-making gases than South Coast. But this bowl-shaped region traps bad air, allowing pollutants to build up for days.”