Here They Come Again —SCAQMD’s New “Air Quality Management Plan” Released
Here’s how the environmental regulators play the game. The feds set one-size fits all standards for the entire nation, regardless of local conditions, and state and local bureaucrats must design regulations designed to meet these federal standards.
Now comes forth the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), established in 1976, with its “revised” Air Quality Management Plan (AQMP), designed to meet the anticipated new federal Environmental Protection Agency standards by 2017. They will, unless stopped, force the new AQMP on the 15 million people living in the district by December.
The truth is, the four-county air district is already meeting or exceeding current EPA standards for all but one criteria pollutant (ozone), but, in their bureaucratic way, SCAQMD is anticipating an increase in EPA requirements and so wants to tighten its grip on the southern California economy, particularly the depressed construction industry in a “kick ‘em while they’re down” strategy.
The AQMP, using old, not current data, finds that on-road heavy duty diesel trucks and off-road construction equipment are the two largest sources for nitrogen dioxide (NOx), a precursor for ozone formation, so they are targeting, once again, our industry. They are pushing for zero or near-zero emission vehicles for our industry, a category of equipment that does not currently exist in the equipment marketplace.
You can get the details of the 381-page AQMP at www.aqmd.gov/aqmp/2012aqmp/RevisedDraft/index.html.
When you go there, look at page 3, where you will find the names of the 13-member SCAQMD board. If you know any of them…and we know you do….give them a call, write a letter, send an email, ask for a meeting to ask them to send the South Coast staff back to the drawing boards on the AQMP. There is a readily acknowledged safety valve in this process—a five year extension—that the board can request, to give additional time for current regulations, coming new equipment and economic improvement to take place.
The topography and climate of Southern California combine to make the Basin an area of high air pollution potential. During the summer months, a warm air mass frequently descends over the cool, moist marine layer produced by the interaction between the ocean’s surface and the lowest layer of the atmosphere. The warm upper layer forms a cap over the cooler surface layer which inhibits the pollutants from dispersing upward. Light winds during the summer further limit ventilation. Additionally, abundant sunlight triggers the photochemical reactions which produce ozone and the majority of particulate matter. The region experiences more days of sunlight than any other major urban area in the nation except Phoenix.