Release 97-17

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                        CONTACT: Joe Irvin
June 26, 1997                                                                                                       (916) 322-2990                                                                                                                   

Air Resources Board Approves San Joaquin Particulate Control Plan

        SACRAMENTO - A plan to improve air quality for millions of San Joaquin Valley residents was unanimously approved Thursday by the California Environmental Protection Agency's Air Resources Board (ARB). Specifically, the plan is a roadmap towards attainment of federally-required standards for particulate matter known as PM10.

        The Board, on a 9-0 vote, approved the San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District's PM10 Attainment Plan as a revision to California's State Implementation Plan (SIP). The California SIP is a plan that addresses ways the state intends to meet Federal Clean Air Act standards.

        After public testimony was heard, the motion to approve the plan was made by the Board's newest member, Kern County Supervisor Barbara Patrick, who was just named to the ARB by Governor Pete Wilson. Patrick was sworn in Thursday morning by ARB Chairman John Dunlap.

       "The District's plan is a reasonable step forward -- one that will bring the San Joaquin Valley's 3.5 million residents cleaner, more healthful air while not hampering agriculture and the industrial economic base," said Patrick.

        As a County Supervisor, Patrick also sits on the San Joaquin Valley APCD board, and was instrumental in crafting the proposed PM10 plan in recent months.

        The plan would bring the San Joaquin Valley into annual average PM10 attainment by the Federal Clean Air Act deadline of December 2001. However, analysis indicates that certain areas within the District may not meet 24-hour average federal PM10 standards. For this reason, the District asked for a one-time, five-year attainment date extension which is allowed in the Clean Air Act.

        The ARB is helping to fund a five-year, $23 million study of PM10 in the Valley. The study, which began in 1995, will provide information on the most efficient and least costly ways to reduce the Valley's PM10.

        Dunlap welcomed Patrick to the Board. "Through the Governor's action, Barbara's presence was felt immediately on a key issue for the San Joaquin Valley. We are pleased to have Supervisor Patrick joining us, and to move decisively forward on this issue to improve air quality for the San Joaquin Valley."

        The San Joaquin Valley APCD covers all of seven counties including Fresno, Kings, Madera, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Tulare, and a portion of an eighth, Kern.

        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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