Keep the Dust Rule The first responsibility of the Air Pollution Control District (APCD) is to protect the public’s health by controlling air pollution. It does this by adopting rules, approving permits, measuring air pollutants and taking action where needed. In the case of the Dust Rule, the APCD has found that residents of Oceano and the Nipomo Mesa, are exposed to unhealthy levels of fine particle pollution emanating primarily from the off-road vehicle riding area of the Oceano Dunes. This area is owned and/or managed by the OHV Division of California State Parks. Before adoption of the Dust Rule, the APCD tried to work with OHV management to resolve the problem. That did not work. Next they wrote and adopted the Dust Rule that gave the property manager (OHV Division of State Parks) more than a year to develop a Particulate Matter Reduction Plan. Then they gave them an extension of another year to July 31, 2014 to get final approval and implement the plan.
The level of exposure of Nipomo Mesa residents to unhealthy air is high with multiple violations of both the California and the national health standards. The SLO county Public Health Department has pointed out the need for action to address this problem and the courts have recently upheld the Dust Rule adopted by the APCD. In the decision Judge Crandall stated “ As an agency mandated to adopt rules to reduce airborne particulate matter, the District properly determined that a need existed for a rule requiring State Parks to monitor and reduce emissions from the off-road riding facility”.
The American Lung Association, the Center for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, The American Cancer Association, the American Heart Association and Calif. And U. S. Environmental Protection Agencies all warn seniors, children and those with pre-existing heart or lung problems to avoid exposure to the PM levels and spikes we are experiencing.
The County and the APCD have no choice but to control this pollution at its source as they would for any other polluter. To fail to do so would subject the County to intervention and possible sanctions by the U.S. E.P.A., suit by the residents, and potentially other actions. The Dust Rule is supported by the best science, upheld by the courts and is clearly needed to protect the health of South County residents. For these reasons, we the undersigned support the Dust Rule and its implementation by the APCD.