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California Adopts Plans on Fine Particles For San Joaquin Valley, Los Angeles Area

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

LOS ANGELES--California air quality officials approved new plans Jan. 24-25 to bring San Joaquin Valley and the Los Angeles area into compliance with federal 24-hour standard for fine particulates (PM-2.5).

At a Jan. 24 meeting in Bakersfield, Calif., the California Air Resources Board signed off on a strategy it said demonstrates attainment with 35 micrograms per cubic meter standard throughout the entire eight-county San Joaquin Valley air basin by the end of 2019.

The next day in Diamond Bar, Calif., CARB approved a plan the South Coast Air Quality Management District adopted Dec. 7 to bring the Los Angeles area it oversees into attainment with the PM-2.5 standard by 2014 (236 DEN A-14, 12/10/12).

The plan also updates the SCAQMD's strategy to attain federal standards for ground-level ozone.

CARB's adoption of both plans clears the way for the state implementation plan revisions to be submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency for approval.

Both plans were due at EPA on Dec. 15.

Adopted by the San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District Dec. 30, the valley strategy predicts that most of the air basin will be in attainment with the 24-hour PM-2.5 standard by 2017. The last remaining nonattainment site, Bakersfield, will not achieve the standard until 2019, five years beyond the federal attainment deadline of 2014.

Reliance on District, Statewide Rules

As a result, the air district must seek an extended deadline from EPA.

To meet the 2017 deadline, the SJVUAPCD plan relies primarily on existing district and statewide regulations to curb directly emitted PM-2.5 and emissions of nitrogen oxides. District regulations target emissions from industrial boilers and furnaces, flaring operations, open burning, prescribed burning, confined animal facilities, lawn care equipment, and asphalt and concrete operations. The statewide regulations aim to curb emissions from diesel on- and off-road vehicles and equipment, passenger cars, and other sources that contribute to the valley's PM-2.5 pollution problem.

To meet the 2019 deadline, the air district is proposing to strengthen existing rules regulating residential wood burning in fireplaces and stoves and control emissions from commercial cooking, specifically from charbroiling equipment.

Nitrogen oxide emissions, which contribute to the formation of fine particulates, would have to be reduced by 55 percent and directly emitted PM-2.5 must decrease by 30 percent, according to the plan.

Neither CARB nor the SJVUAPCD estimated the costs of implementing the valley's PM-2.5 plan.

SJVUAPCD's Samir Sheikh told BNA Jan. 23 that the agency conducts cost effectiveness analysis as part of each rulemaking process, but it does not prepare economic analyses when developing its clean air plans.

The PM-2.5 plan indicated that implementation of the strategy would result in a $102 million saving on health costs in 2019.

Plan for L.A. Updates Ozone Strategy

SCAQMD's air quality management plan updates the agency's eight-hour ozone strategy and seeks to satisfy deficiencies EPA identified in a 2003 one-hour ozone plan as well as demonstrate attainment with the 2006 PM-2.5 standard.

Like the valley's plan, the SCAQMD PM-2.5 plan also proposes strengthening local rules for wood-burning stoves and fireplaces and relies on its existing measures covering stationary sources and statewide regulations governing mobile sources. Also, the SCAQMD plan calls for stricter rules for open-burnings and for diesel emissions in high traffic areas, specifically idling requirements.

The agency decided to wait on measures to control particulate emissions at local dairies and restaurant charbroilers, pending further study.

SCAQMD's plan also includes a new round of measures to further reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds to demonstrate its commitment to achieve the 1997 eight-hour ozone standard of 0.08 parts per million (ppm) and the now-revoked one-hour ozone standard of 0.12 ppm.

In addition, the plan includes new emissions data and measures to offset anticipated increases in vehicle traffic, which were required after EPA Sept. 19 disapproved an earlier submittal (182 DEN A-10, 9/20/12).

SCAQMD included commitments to adopt and implement a small number of advanced technology measures included in the 2007 SIP revision that demonstrate attainment with 1997 eight-hour standard by 2023. The plan projects attainment with the one-hour standard by 2022.

SCAQMD estimated the average annual cost of implementing the 2012 plan at $448 million. The cost of the PM-2.5 is estimated at $326.6 million, which includes $326.4 million for transportation control measures proposed by Southern California Association of Governments. Implementation of all the ozone measures is expected to cost $122 million a year, including $40 million in costs for stationary source controls, according to the plan.

Bringing the region into attainment with the 24-hour PM-2.5 standard and progressing toward the ozone standards will result in “an average annual clean air benefit of $3.5 billion,’’ which includes about $519 million for congestion relief, $2.2 billion in reduced premature deaths and averted illnesses, $696 million for visibility improvements, and $14 million in reduced damage to materials, the agency estimated.

SCAQMD oversees air quality in Orange County, and major areas of Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties.

By Carolyn Whetzel  


The San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District's adopted 2012 PM-2.5 plan is available at http://www.valleyair.org/Air_Quality_Plans/PM25Plans2012.htm.

South Coast Air Quality Management District's final 2012 Air Quality Management Plan is available at http://www.aqmd.gov/aqmp/Lead_SIP/homepage.htm.

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