APCD settles with state parks over dust rule
March 27, 2014
The San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District has reached a settlement with California state parks over implementation of the APCD’s Oceano dunes dust rule.
On Wednesday, the APCD board agreed to eliminate a section of the dust rule requiring state parks to obtain a permit from the district in order to operate the off-road vehicle area of the Oceano dunes. In exchange, state parks agreed to drop its lawsuit against the air district and reimburse the agency for costs incurred from implementing the regulation.
State parks is currently spending an additional $1 million on creating fencing and wind barriers to mitigate dust blowing off of the Oceano dunes.
In 2011, the APCD board adopted the dust rule, which requires state parks to reduce the amount of particulate matter blowing onto the Nipomo Mesa or face $1,000 a day fines. The regulation prompted California Attorney General Kamala Harris to sue the district on behalf of state parks.
Friends of Oceano Dunes, an organization that supports off-road recreation, also sued over the dust rule. As with state parks, their lawsuit is currently in appellate court.
APCD has not yet reached a settlement with friends of the dunes. It must do so in order to validate its settlement with state parks.
An appellate court must also approve the settlement and dismiss the lawsuits in order for the agreement to become legally binding. If that occurs, a court appointed mediator would resolve any future disputes over the implementation of the dust rule.