SLO APCD board approves annual fees on state parks
September 6, 2013
The San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District (APCD) board approved nearly $50,000 of annual fees Thursday to be levied upon the California Department of Parks and Recreation as part of a controversial effort to reduce dust blowing from the Oceano Dunes to the Nipomo Mesa.
In 2011, the APCD board adopted the Oceano Dunes dust rule, which requires the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area to reduce the amount of particulate matter blowing from the dunes to the Nipomo Mesa or pay fines of $1,000 a day to the air district. The APCD is currently battling state parks to implement the dust rule.
On Thursday, the APCD board voted 7-4 to approve a total of $49,240 of annual fees charged to state parks for air quality monitoring, dust rule compliance verification and a permit to operate the dunes riding area.
County Supervisor Debbie Arnold, Grover Beach Mayor Debbie Peterson, Pismo Beach Councilman Ed Waage and Atascadero Councilwoman Roberta Fonzi cast the dissenting votes. The detractors argued that the APCD should create a memorandum of understanding with state parks before levying the fees. The district has a memorandum of understanding with Conoco Phillips, which pays for an air monitor just a few miles away from the Nipomo Mesa monitor.
The fees levied upon state parks may not have passed had county supervisors Bruce Gibson and Adam Hill chosen to attend an APCD meeting scheduled for July. Gibson and Hill, who voted for the fees Thursday, prevented the board from achieving a quorum in July, causing the APCD to cancel the meeting and postpone the vote on the fees.
Gibson and Hill both said they could not attend the meeting, yet they were each photographed in the area on the day of the meeting.
The APCD board, which had not met since May, convened for a special meeting Thursday to vote on the fees, the district budget and other unfinished business.