Release 08-36
May 8, 2008

    Leo Kay
ARB proposes to approve Valley particulate matter plan
Hearing set for May 22 in Fresno

SACRAMENTO - The Air Resources Board released a staff report today that recommends approval of a particulate matter pollution control plan for the San Joaquin Valley that would meet federal health standards on time.

The Board will vote on the staff recommendation -- posted today at -- at a hearing in Fresno on May 22. The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District approved the fine particulate matter state implementation plan April 30.

Local measures such as a strengthened residential wood smoke rule and one of the state's toughest regulations on boilers and glass furnaces will combine with ARB's recently passed off-road construction rule and the upcoming proposed truck regulation to allow the Valley to meet federal fine particulate matter standards by 2014. Parts of the Valley already comply with the particulate matter standard, with southern regions suffering from the worst air quality.

"The combined efforts of ARB and the local air district are lowering soot levels in the Valley every year," said ARB Chairman Mary Nichols. "The question we need to ask Valley residents is, have we accounted for every pollution source? Now that this report is out on the street we will be looking for public input and suggestions leading up to the Board vote later this month."

The plan reduces fine particulate matter exposure by lowering oxides of nitrogen emissions by almost 50 percent and fine particulate matter emissions by over 25 percent from 2005 levels. The plan is based on the $27 million "California Regional Particulate Matter Study," which provides the strongest scientific foundation in the nation for a particulate matter plan.

ARB, the Air District and the United States Environmental Protection Agency will participate in a technology forum to be held at University California, Merced on July 9 to explore new advancements that will be needed to obtain future reductions to meet the U.S. EPA's new more stringent standard for which a revised plan will be due in 2012. In the meantime, ARB will continue to help fund pollution-cutting projects in the Valley through Proposition 1B funds.

Fine particulate matter emissions are associated with causing a variety of health effects including premature death and a number of heart and lung diseases.

The Air Resources Board is a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency. ARB'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 ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.

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