Air pollution control board approves Oceano dunes rule

November 17, 2011

The San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District voted 7-4 with one abstention to approve a new regulation that requires state parks to reduce particulate matter blowing from the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area or face fines of $1,000 per day.

The APCD contends evidence from a scientific study it produced show that off-road vehicles at the dunes are causing an increase in particulate matter downwind on the Nipomo Mesa.

Numerous residents of the Nipomo Mesa, air quality district administrator Larry Allen and county public health officials said at the board meeting that the dunes are causing health problems for people downwind.

“There is a definite increase in heart attacks associated with PM 10,” said Penny Bornstein, County Public Health Department. “In fact, premature death is associated with exposure to particulate matter.”

The air quality district relies on fines and fees to cover the expense of its employee payroll. Of the 21 employees at the air quality district, 19 have salaries and benefits that exceed $100,000 a year. The air quality district has been criticized by those who say its focus is raising fees and fines.

Allen argued that talk of fines without warnings was used as distraction from health problems he claims are created by vehicles on the dunes.

“There’s been a lot of comment about the fines. I think in my mind it’s kind of a red herring,” Allen said. “We work very closely with all facilities that are under regulation by us. We typically provide warnings.”

Numerous local and state officials allege that the district’s Phase II study includes numerous flaws because of poor methodology and the manipulation of data.

Air quality district board member and Pismo Beach Councilman Ed Waage said the study is flawed and he wanted the inaccuracies corrected before approval.

In 2008, state parks’ staff and officials also said they thought the study the air quality district created was flawed because of several errors in the district’s methodology.

The state has said in letters to the district that the rule must first be legally and scientifically justified before the air quality district can impose fines on state parks. State Parks officials are discussing mounting a legal challenge against the air quality district for passing a regulation based on a flawed study.


31 Comments

  1. standup says:

    Larry Allen, good luck getting me to try to register my equipment to support your worthless ass. I am going to fight back against you and all your lazy people. I am sick and tired of hearing all the bs you keep pushing. Get ready for war!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  2. KimM says:

    Excellent article, as per usual.

    So let me see if I understand this…

    The APCD WRITES its own rules/regulations (LEGISLATIVE BRANCH);
    The APCD ENFORCES its own rules/regulations (EXECUTIVE BRANCH);
    The APCD ADJUDICATES its own rules/regulations (JUDICIAL BRANCH)?

    All 3 branches of government rolled up into one neat package!

    Judge, jury & executioner, all in one!

    How convenient!

    But where is due process?

    With due process being:

    The (legal) process by which The People (& their businesses & enterprises) are protected from an overreaching, out-of-control government.

    For instance:

    When does the APCD ever give notice to the defendant that someone was harmed?

    When does the APCD ever PROVE to the defendant that someone was harmed?

    When does the APCD ever give the defendant an opportunity to face their accusers?

    When does the APCD ever give the defendant a proper hearing?

    When does the APCD ever give the defendant an opportunity to have their case heard before a neutral party &/or a jury of their peers?

    How & when did the APCD ever get the power & authority to WRITE its own legislation that it also gets to ENFORCE & BENEFIT from?

    Because if 75% of monies collected goes directly into the pockets of the APCD (& the other 25% presumably goes to operating expenses), how & when do The People ever benefit from the activities of said agency?

    (For instance, I’d like to see the APCD prove how The People are HARMED by a fire alarm log being put in the wrong place & how The People are SAVED by an unreasonably high fine – 75% of which goes into APCD’s personal pockets – being levied without any due process?)

    I believe (through apathy & ignorance) The People have been allowing this sort of abuse of power to happen for far too long.

    Take the example of the police, for instance. This unconstitutional agency is headed up by an unelected “Chief” appointed by the city manager (rather than being elected by The People) & who is therefore accountable to said manager (rather than being accountable to The People). It’s this disconnect from The People that the police (allegedly) serve that allows them to routinely commit due process violations every single hour of every day without ever being held accountable.

    For instance, even though State law requires every peace officer to take an arrestee before a magistrate immediately upon arrest (which includes routine traffic stops that ARE a form of arrest) where said magistrate then makes an on-the-spot decision about the merits of a case & gives an arrestee the immediate opportunity to have their side of the story heard.

    But does this EVER happen? No. Police break State law with every arrest they make, which overloads the system with frivolous cases & violates the inherent rights of The People they (allegedly) serve. But due process violations DO make it mighty easy to fill city coffers with much-needed cash… & there’s the crux.

    We The People have been allowing this sort of thing to happen for a long, long time & this is why government is completely out of control.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 4

  3. Myself says:

    I have a real problem with studys, cause thats all they are, studys, very little facts are in them, these people use words such as , can cause, possible, may,is known to, but there are no facts to back this up, farmers, cattle men, and construction workers have been in dust and dirt for years and there is no real proof that dust has killed any of them and many live to be in their 80’s, fact, I’ve know several through the years that have lived long and productive lives.
    I was on the phone a week ago with some wizard in Sac from the Ca air resorces board about truck engines, and explained to him that they were breaking this state with phony studies, and he used the same words I have put at the top of this post, I then asked him for proof that people die of particulate matter, IE: dust, diesel smoke, not guesses as the carb has stated in years past but real proof, from hospitals, morgues, real medical doctors, not some over educated guest a mater with a dr in front of his name, and atopsey results, guess what, the phone got real quiet, and then he tried to start up with the studies story again.
    Wake up people this isn’t working Slo’s arb is an extension of carb in Sac and as all of you have
    figgured out its a way to justify their bloated wages.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 5

  4. whoowhoo says:

    I remember a lot of dirt roads (sandy streets) in Nipomo from when I was a kid. Any concerns from the automobiles kicking up dust in the neighborhoods? This sucks!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 4

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