CARB: Progress made in emissions battle, but urban sprawl next target

| 11/9/2007

California has made progress in regulating emissions, according to CARB Chairman Mary Nichols, but remaining progress will rely on residential growth and how many daily commuters jam the state’s highways with their vehicles emitting dangerous greenhouse gases.

According to a CARB news release issued Thursday, Nov. 8, air quality in the San Joaquin Valley has improved “significantly over the past several years.” Running from Fresno to Bakersfield, the San Joaquin Valley is home to the state’s worst pollution levels because of the mountains and a lack of breeze to move smog away from the region.

But recent improvements and a series of regulations on trucks alone won’t help the state meet federal ozone standards by 2018, Nichols said.

“We have a typical good news/bad news story here: the good news is that the local air district is doing its part to regulate local pollution sources,” Nichols said.

“The bad news is that the remaining areas still needing some work – trucks, agricultural equipment and suburban sprawl – will be thorny issues with no real easy answers. ARB can commit to reducing emissions from agricultural equipment and trucks but local officials need to take charge of their growth. We owe it to Central Valley residents to continue to search for solutions to clean up their air.”

CARB members plan to consider a proposal to regulate farm equipment in 2009. Until then, the agency is requesting the San Joaquin air district work with local governments to address sprawl and resulting pollution

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer