Waage urges council to reject dunes study

October 31, 2011

A Pismo Beach city councilman wants his colleagues to agree on Tuesday to ask the San Luis Obispo County air-quality board to reject a proposed rule to regulate fugitive dust emissions at the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Park.

The San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District (APCD) created a study last year that shows a link between off-road vehicle use on the dunes and unhealthy air pollution levels downwind from the dunes on the Nipomo Mesa.

However, Councilman Ed Waage, who is considering challenging Adam Hill in the upcoming District 3 supervisorial race,  agrees with state park officials who claim the study is inaccurate and should be invalidated. Board members of the APCD, comprised of members of the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors and representatives from the county’s seven cities, agreed to support the study.

In a letter obtained by CalCoastNews, Waage argues that flaws in the APCD study need to be addressed before the board adopts rules based on the study.

For example, according to Waage, the APCD study assumes that wind speeds measured at the California Department of Forestry fire station are representative of wind speeds at the dunes.

During the past year, state parks has been measuring wind speeds at the dunes and reports speeds 70 percent higher then those measured at the fire station by the APCD. Waage notes in his letter that the fire station stands behind several rows of tall trees.

“Higher wind speeds will have a significant effect on some of the conclusions of the study so it is imperative that the more recent data on wind speeds be used to reevaluate those conclusions,” Waage wrote.

The APCD also conducted the PM10 pollution level study at the fire station which sets on Highway 1 in Oceano. Waage, who has a Ph.D. in chemistry, criticizes the APCD for failing to consider the effect auto emissions had on the higher pollution counts it found at the fire station.

“A comparison of PM10 measurements during the morning commute at 7 a.m. shows higher levels of PM10 on weekdays than weekends,” Waage wrote in the letter. “Since there is more commute traffic on weekdays, this result is an indication that there is a contribution to measured PM10 from vehicle traffic.”

In addition, Waage notes that the APCD proposed year-long study added in an additional month. He says that March and April are windy months which will results in higher PM10 so the selection of an additional March will skew the results.

“Using this flawed approach, the Study found about 25 percent higher PM10 on the 50 highest use days compared to the lowest 50 days,” Waage said. “This 25 percent value was used extensively in public presentations by APCD staff.”

Last week, the Oceano Community Services District Board voted 4-0 to send a letter to the APCD Board opposing the proposed rules that place fines on the state for not improving air quality at the dunes.

The APCD Board is slated to vote on the  proposed rule on Nov. 16.

Proposed letter to the chair of the APCD:

Pismo Agenda Report APCD Letter 102811


18 Comments

  1. oto says:

    I’m thinking Waage should stick to chemistry, rather than aerodynamics.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 12

    • Disgusted says:

      And why would that be? Please explain why his point of view is incorrect. You must have facts?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

      • whatisup says:

        Oto – It seems to me that Councilman Waage has a reasonable basis to believe this SLO Air Pollution Control District Staff report is flawed. Please read the linked story about the staff admitting to manipulating Nipomo Mesa air quality forecasts to make people believe that air quality was unhealthful when in fact it was healthful.
        http://calcoastnews.com/2011/08/county-official-admits-to-manipulating-air-quality-forecasts/

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

      • oto says:

        Just like the letter I posted from Home Depot in response to Blackburn’s errors regarding the store’s generous discounts to veterans which identified the types of id Home Depot accepts to give those discounts, I gave my answer and my reasons and it was removed.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. Typoqueen says:

    I wish that Waage would bring up the fact that there are no studies to see if people on the Mesa are truly getting sick more than usual. If people do have lung issues thought to be due to the OHV why don’t they monitor those houses to see if there is a higher than normal amount of PMs in their homes. Then again, one would expect to get more dust if they live down wind from huge sand dunes and farm fields. But this just seem like such an extreme action to take when they haven’t even studied these issues.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 3

    • whatisup says:

      The air in Santa Maria consistantly has higher PM10 readings than the air on the Nipomo Mesa, but the SLO Air Pollution Control District does not report that information because Santa Maria is not in their district. Are the Citizens of Santa Maria complaining about breathing problems? For that matter what about the people in Pheonix. They have been having horendous sand storms there with almost complete blackouts in the middle of the day due to the thick blowing sand. Perhaps Pheonix should be shut down.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4

  3. racket says:

    I am liking Waage.

    I am liking him because he his sentiments match mine regarding the dust.

    And I am liking him even more because he is taking the bull by the horns by setting the stage for a supervisorial run. The Dunes are a hot button issue, and I appreciate that he’s not pussyfooting around and pretending there’s no 500-lb gorilla on the couch.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 9

    • Cindy says:

      racket, That sort of thinking is disheartening. What we need is the simple TRUTH. How can we make viable decisions without solid scientific facts? If people would just stop with the manipulations and spin on controversial items, we might all find how simple it is to actually agree with each other once and a while. It doesn’t have to be so hard all the time, a little honesty goes a long way.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 4

      • Disgusted says:

        Waage has questioned this plan for a long time, and I believe voted against it at the meeting. He’s a scientist, very smart, honest and will do what he thinks is right. He must know this opinion will make enemies as well as advocates. He does this because it’s the right thing to do to stay true to himself and the public. How refreshing!

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 4

    • R.Hodin says:

      Yet more free media coverage for the Waage campaign!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 11

      • whatisup says:

        I don’t understand. Is Waage not supposed to speak up, or is CNN not supposed to report it?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  4. whatisup says:

    The Economic Impact report of the Oceano Dunes State Vehicle Recreation Area that was completed by Dr. William Hendricks and his associates at Cal Poly a few years ago indicated the total economic impact to the 5 Cities area of the off road park to be about $108 million per year or over one billion dollars per decade.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 3

  5. Cindy says:

    Outrageous. Think about it, this is a report based on 12 months and they decide to include 13 months where they throw in March (one of the two worst months) ,how transparent. Then they use wind studies that are skewed and not fully relevant to the area the are monitoring! Good grief, what ever happened to competence and integrity? It used to be that people like this would only be paid for the portions of the research that were reliable and they would be “docked” for any retesting that had to be imposed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 7

  6. standup says:

    Larry Allen from the APCD has got to be one of the biggest wast4es of our tax dollars in the county. 27 employees to sit around on their butts seems like waste to me. Someone fire this lying jerk. Remember, he falsified readings to push his sick agenda.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 7

  7. shelworth says:

    Just like man-made global climate change, who knows? We’re so used to being lied to, (from both sides) that we can’t decide for ourselves.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 9

  8. danika says:

    Skew the facts to convince the public the air they breathe isn’t healthy. Sounds about right. Do they even recognize truth anymore?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 9

Comments are closed.