SJV Air Quality Degrades From Previous Years

On June 1, 2012, an air monitor in the San Joaquin Valley recorded a one-hour ozone violation.    This happened on a Friday afternoon at the Parlier monitor situated at an agricultural research station between the rural Fresno County towns of Parlier and Reedley.   There is no doubt that the majority of the ozone was not formed locally but drifted into the area from the large sprawling city of Fresno less than 15 miles to the north.

This was the third year in a row that Parlier has experienced a one-hour ozone violation.  What is unique about this particular one is how early in the summer it occurred.  Most recent violations of this standard have been in the months of August and September.  The last time there was a violation of this type before or on June 1 was nine years ago in 2003, which was also recorded at the Parlier monitor.  (Note:  a violation at the Arvin Bear Mtn. monitor in May of 2006 does not count because that monitor is no longer in place.  All comparisons of present air quality to past air quality require the removal of Arvin Bear Mtn. data for the purposes of accuracy.)

It should be stated that the valley was required by the Clean Air Act to meet the one-hour ozone standard in 2010 and is now paying a $29 million annual fine for additional air cleanup projects until the standard is met.  This fine represents a huge failure of the Air Board in protecting public health in a timely manner.

The 1997 8-hour ozone standard was also violated on June 1, 2012.  This happened in several places but the highest reading that day was also recorded in Parlier and was 97 parts per billion.  This is the highest 8-hour ozone average recorded by this date in the valley since 2003.

Finally, there have been 17 violations of the 2008 8-hour ozone standard through June 1.  Last year at this time there were only 6 and there were 6 the year before as well.  There have also been 6 violations this year of the older, less health protective 1997 standard.  There was only 1 similar violation by this time in 2011 and none in 2010.

So, this is looking like a bad year for health damaging ozone violations in the San Joaquin Valley.  Ironically, there is a lot of bragging from the Air Board about the progress they are making in cleaning our air.  Their claims are looking pretty bad when current numbers are viewed.  It is hard to forget a little less than a  year ago when they shouted to the world that for the first time ever there had not been a valley one-hour ozone violation in the month of August.  What a bunch of fakers; it simply kills me.

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