Oceano Dunes air quality committees disbanded

February 21, 2011


Under pressure to comply with open meeting law requirements, county and state officials have agreed to dissolve their agreement to examine and develop a plan to clean up air pollution in the Oceano Dunes, according to a press release from the San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District (SLOAPCD) on Friday.

In August 2010, the SLOAPCD , San Luis Obispo County and the California Department of State Parks and Recreation entered into the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that says that officials from each party agree to form two committees responsible for developing a plan to reduce pollution in the Nipomo Mesa area.

The Brown Act, passed in 1953 because of mounting concerns that government bodies were avoiding scrutiny by meeting secretly, guarantees the public the right to attend and participate in meetings of legislative bodies.

In the case of the Technical Advisory Committee and the Management Oversight Committee, the oversight committee chair and head of the SLOAPCD Larry Allen and the SLOAPCD’s attorney Ray Biering determined the committees did not have to comply with the Brown Act.

Last month, one of the state’s leading authorities on open meeting laws warned the Management Oversight Committee that it needed allow the public access to its meetings as required by law or face litigation.

“It is surprising that the parties or their attorneys believe that a multimember body created by a legislative body can be exempted from the Brown Act’s requirements by use of the term “ad hoc,” said Terry Francke, the director of CalAware and arguably the foremost authority on the Brown Act.

“Those responsible to comply with the law may wish to spare themselves some embarrassment and spare the taxpayers the obligation to pay our attorney’s fees,” Francke said in a letter delivered by Kevin Rice on January 18 giving the committee 30 days to comply to the Brown Act or face litigation.

Then, one day shy of a month after Rice’s demand, the SLOAPCD sent the press release that says “the MOA has accomplished its primary goal of bringing the three entities together to cooperatively address the issue, a more expeditious approach is now needed to ensure the process continues to move forward in a timely manner.”

Larry Allen

However, the stated goal of the MOA is to identify and test strategies to reduce air pollution, identify responsible parties and sources of funding for a particulate matter reduction plan, according to the agreement. Nowhere in the agreement is it stated that a goal of the MOA is to bring the three parties together.

The MOA and its committees are under contract to continue for a period of no more than two years after the development of a particulate matter reduction plan, something the committee did not accomplish. Any of the parties can request to terminate the agreement if, “despite the best efforts of the parties, the intended purpose of the MOA is not being achieved as envisioned.”

In order to terminate, a detailed explanation must be sent to the other parties which enacts a 60 day examination period prior to disbandment, according to the agreement.

In another twist, even though both the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors and the SLOAPCD both held closed session to discuss anticipated litigation following Rice’s threat, neither claimed to have taken any action as required by the Brown Act if an action is agreed upon by the board’s members.

Even so, the SLOAPCD press release says that the parties have agreed to terminate their agreement and replace it with a “streamlined process.”

“What this shows is that air district’s director, Larry Allen, does not want to have open meetings,” Rice said. “Now that it has been recognized that these meetings were illegally held, instead of holding meetings openly, he has chosen to dissolve the committees so he can conduct his work without public scrutiny.”



  1. DuneDude says:

    One could write a dissertation on how you cause aerosols of impact and grinding silica particulate mixed with petrochemicals deposited by off road traffic in the Oceano Dunes. Much of the damage has been done. Had the dunes never allowed vehicle traffic the amounts and types of particulate being disseminated in the general area and particularly the Nipomo Mesa would not be nearly as serious problem as it has become. Why deny the obvious. The number of days to cause pulmonary damage is limited. To say that heart and pulmonary health are not related to off road activities at the Oceano Dunes is either denial or delusional.

    (-7) 23 Total Votes - 8 up - 15 down
    • whatisup says:

      DuneDude – There is not one single report or study of any kind that remotely suggests there is a health hazard because of the OHV traffic on the Oceano Dunes. It is always people like you, giving your non-scientific feelings, but no actual proof. The truth is you just don’t like vehicle traffic on the dunes and you will use any excuse – truth does not matter – to try to ban OHVs from driving on the dunes.

      There is 18 miles of dunes and the Off Road Vehicle Park is 5 1/2 miles of this. This leaves 12 1/2 miles of dunes with no vehicle traffic allowed, not to mention the additional 820 miles of CA coast where no vehicles are allowed to drive on the beach either. Aren’t the 12 1/2 miles of dunes and the additional 820 miles of beach with no vehicles enough for you?

      (6) 18 Total Votes - 12 up - 6 down
    • SLORider says:

      DungDude– Aside from your fantasy dissertation being 100% devoid of evidence and science…

      What does it have anything to do with the air district’s illegal closed meetings?

      (8) 22 Total Votes - 15 up - 7 down
    • danika says:

      I am gonna assume you do not ever operate a vehicle, any vehicle; nor do you ride in any vehicle, right?
      Because if you did, that would mean you willingly and knowingly cause pulmonary damage to MILLIONS of people when you do so. Car exhaust isn’t healthy. To claim otherwise is either denial or delusional. Nuff said.

      (4) 8 Total Votes - 6 up - 2 down
  2. whatisup says:

    From this story and press release it appears that the SLO APCD, SLO County, and State Parks have agreed on how to move forward. The only thing that bothers me is there are no quotes from the State Parks Department Officials confirming their agreement to this. Hopefully, CCN will confirm and report the State Park’s agreement to this action. While I have been unhappy with the SLO APCD’s past conduct concerning the Oceano Dunes, I am not going to condemn this action if State Parks is in agreement.

    Here is the link to the press release from the SLO Air Pollution Control District:

    Here is the most descriptive paragraph from the press release:
    Under a more streamlined process, State Parks will oversee the efforts of the technical experts to implement the three pilot projects, with APCD and the County providing input and guidance throughout the duration. At the same time, APCD will move forward in drafting a Fugitive Dust Rule for the Oceano Dunes. The long-term PM Reduction Plan will then be developed by technical experts overseen by State Parks, in consultation with the APCD and the County, to meet the requirements outlined in the APCD Rule. The public will have the opportunity to review and comment on the draft regulation through public workshops and Board hearings scheduled to begin in late summer or early fall of this year.

    (4) 4 Total Votes - 4 up - 0 down
  3. choprzrul says:


    How exactly does everyone think about how the entire mesa got there in the first place???

    You don’t suppose it was from sand & dust blowing off the dunes, do you? I’m kinda thinking that it might have started happening BEFORE the internal combustion engine was invented.

    Maybe we should ban those snowy plovers from the beach, after all, they kick up dust also…

    (11) 21 Total Votes - 16 up - 5 down
    • justme says:

      Absolutely, the same goes for Los Osos, it’s pure sand for miles inland.

      Get real, the issue isn’t sand in lungs. It’s if Pismo lives or dies if the Valley stops showing up. No vehicles on the beach and Pismo might have to rely on it’s own residents who pay taxes for the place going to their own beach. I’ve ridden dirtbikes there, it’s dangerous as hell. I wish they were all gone but Bakersfield or Fresno would probably be totally unbearable if these sand fleas couldn’t unload in Pismo.
      Move ’em down to Guadalupe.That town would love and needs them.

      (-1) 1 Total Votes - 0 up - 1 down
      • DuneDude says:

        The Morro Bay area has not been compromised by off road vehicle traffic. And, sand is much different than a fine aerosol of silica and petrochemicals being spewed forth because of a toxic mixture provided by off road use.

        I would advise anyone in the toxic plume area to have adequate ventilation with air purification to reduce hazards associated with these conditions.

        (1) 9 Total Votes - 5 up - 4 down
        • SLORider says:

          You just make stuff up don’t you? You have zero evidence.

          (-2) 8 Total Votes - 3 up - 5 down
        • whatisup says:

          DuneDude – Get a grip. You have not one iota of evidence to back up your fabricated claims. Not even the SLO Air Pollution Control District staff tried to claim what you are claiming, although they claimed a lot of things they had no evidence for and could not back up. You should go work for them — I am sure you would fit right in.

          (0) 2 Total Votes - 1 up - 1 down
  4. racket says:

    … Remind me not to piss off Kevin Rice !!!

    (Nice job, Slorider!)

    (6) 22 Total Votes - 14 up - 8 down
    • Josixpack says:


      (-5) 17 Total Votes - 6 up - 11 down
    • undertow says:

      Good to see Mr. Rice so involved in community, we need more people speaking out. Being his company Central Coast Water treatment, or maybe its now Culligan dumps its copper, PH adjusted with more chemicals , metals laden brine into the Sanitation Districts outfall line and our ocean, I’m sure he also has great concern and stands on the public’s side related to accusations of Wallace’s malfeasance at the plant. Oh But then if he gets his local dumping ground closed off He’ll have to truck his brine waste all the way to Santa Maria or Santa Paula., cant have that now can we.

      (-16) 22 Total Votes - 3 up - 19 down
      • racket says:


        (7) 9 Total Votes - 8 up - 1 down
        • SLORider says:

          OT & bizarre. I’m a firefighter. I don’t own any “water treatment’ company.

          undertow– you are obviously uninformed. Further, I have zero respect for anonymous cowards. If you have a scandal to expose, then speak out publicly and make it known!

          (14) 26 Total Votes - 20 up - 6 down
          • undertow says:

            All apologies Wrong Rice, your no relation to Mike, this must be you then.

            Dune Dude
            August 22, 2010 at 12:06 pm

            Tony Kessler is telling the truth about Kevin P. Rice. He went so far as to steal the name “Safe Dunes Now,” from Dr. Nell Langford. He recognized in an earlier post that the name was her’s and then went down and stated that it belonged to him. His attorneys filed suit in Federal Court to defend his theft. He is a so-called fireman. Some of his colleagues have complained that he does his business on company time or property. His boss has been called by a number of people complaining about his rude and hostile actions. If these people had the money, Kevin would be in the court room and likely later in county jail for his actions, including trespassing. He is supported by some ignorant and intolerant of-road enthusiasts who care nothing about the health and well-being of people in the community. He thinks he is a scientist, when he is no more than a thug who likes to use any means possible to keep others from their free speech, including showing up unannounced hundreds of miles away at the home of an anti-off-road environmentalist with his usual vehement and putrid denial of anyone who doesn’t agree with him. One local has challenged him and told him to sue because not only would he lose, he would also pay all attorney and court costs for his miscreant opportunistic activities. Kevin is a well known scofflaw and criminal who used railroad right of ways to run illegal equipment on the tracks.

            Read more: http://sloblogs.thetribunenews.com/joetopia/how-kevin-p-rice-could-improve-his-oceano-dunes-strategy/#ixzz1EjYSBTaK

            (-6) 16 Total Votes - 5 up - 11 down
            • SLORider says:

              EXCELLENT WORK!! Though still OT and an anonymous coward, just like the ignorant “Dung Dude” whose falsehoods you quote from. Love it!! Which, of course, one must such arrogant sloths are afoot. I couldn’t be happier to NOT have these liars as friends.

              Thus, the question I have for you: In light that your first tirade was a complete FAIL on your part (you couldn’t discern Mike from Kevin), will you now continue to simply believe an anonymous quote from Joetopia (of all ridiculous sources for credible information)? Or, are you the sort that gathers substantive facts?

              My bet? You’ll forgo evidence and fact. Don’t feel bad, though. Most people don’t demand facts for their personal religions and propaganda beliefs. They especially reject need for facts when their own credibility is in question.

              Now before your inevitable caustic reply asserting rudeness or some other caffeinated adjectives–consider the DIP S. impression you made in your idiotic first post.

              Very truly yours.

              (6) 16 Total Votes - 11 up - 5 down
            • whatisup says:

              Wow undertow. You really are about shooting the messenger. I read your link to the Joetopia/Tribune interview with Mr. Rice. It is very positive to Mr. Rice. Everybody can read it so I don’t understand your point here.

              Do you have any scientific facts to back up your opposition to Mr. Rice’s facts? I note that Mr. Rice has spent a lot of time, effort, and his own money gathering facts to prove his point of view, which he has done so, quite convincingly.

              You, on the other hand, are throwing out random personal attacks against him without any facts, and when one personal attack doesn’t work, you seemingly make up another.

              Even if these allegations against Mr. Rice were true, what do they have to do with the Oceano Dunes Off Highway Vehicle Park?

              (10) 16 Total Votes - 13 up - 3 down
              • SLORider says:

                As far as I know, I’ve never even met or talked to “Dung Dude”. Thus, ‘undertow’ is making assertions and beliefs based upon the assertions and beliefs of another who completely lacks first person knowledge… which is par for the course, as you point out.

                And, as you point out, there is indeed a palpable stubbornness amongst some avoiding even addressing the substance of the article itself… which is also par for the course.

                Yet–criticism from opponents and liars is positive reinforcement. I appreciate the feedback. If it were lacking I’d be off course.

                So, let’s stay on course and keep government accountable to the people, not the corrupted and self-interested individuals trying to distort the dunes issues.

                W.O.T. AHEAD!

                (5) 15 Total Votes - 10 up - 5 down
      • Cowman says:

        I guess if you cant despute the facts you might as well attack them personally. Typical liberal attack.

        (4) 18 Total Votes - 11 up - 7 down
        • Kettel says:

          Cowman says:”Typical liberal attack”.

          No it’s a typical Troll attack……… your comment that is. A lack of facts is just that.

          Put down the mimeographed notes and realise that personal attacks don’t stop at fictional party lines.
          As long as we argue between ourselves the money will continue to flow into the pockets of the people who don’t give a crap who we voted for. This is why we can’t have nicer things in America.

          (-4) 12 Total Votes - 4 up - 8 down
  5. danika says:

    Now why does the name Bruce Gibson ring a loud bell…hmmmm…..

    (9) 19 Total Votes - 14 up - 5 down
  6. Typoqueen says:

    ‘Streamlined process’ is short for ‘find another way to hide facts from the public’. More political spin. I can’t believe that he had the nerve to say that.

    This is all about the homeowners on Strand trying to shut the dunes down. They finely found a way to achieve their goal and it’s called the APCB. Nell and her lot are pulling the strings and the APCB fell for it hook line and sinker. Allen should just call it the way it is, he has an agenda and he wants that agenda hidden from the public.

    No one and let me say it out loud “NO ONE’ including the APCB has found that the people on the Mesa are getting sick from dune sand. No one has studied the particulates in peoples homes up there to see if it’s coming from the dunes in the first place and no one has done a study to see if there are more REAL lung issues up there than the norm.. And even IF it’s from the dunes how does one stop the dunes from being dunes? I guess they should just develop the dunes and put ticky tacky little homes all over them.

    Great job Kevin!

    (5) 25 Total Votes - 15 up - 10 down
    • Cowman says:

      Not all home owners.

      (9) 11 Total Votes - 10 up - 1 down
    • Josixpack says:

      Kevin comes off as an egomaniacal power hungry narcisist…whether or not this issue was inappropriately handled

      (-5) 25 Total Votes - 10 up - 15 down
      • Typoqueen says:

        I know Kevin. We are polar opposites on most issues, I’m a bleeding heart and he’s as right as they come. But he’s not afraid to say what he believes and he stands up for what he believes. Kevin doesn’t just sit behind the safety and comfort of a keyboard and call people names. He goes to the city hall, he goes to the meetings, he looks for evidence, he does the leg work and for that he’s called every name in the book. I don’t believe that he’s an ego maniacal power hungry narcissist at all. He doesn’t put his name in the spotlight for his ego, his name is there because he’s in the front lines fighting for what he believes.

        I’m glad he’s pursuing this issue. What is your problem with open government?

        (3) 11 Total Votes - 7 up - 4 down
    • NorthForty says:

      “This is all about the homeowners on Strand trying to shut the dunes down.”

      Speaking as a homeowner on Strand, I can tell you I have no problem with OHV use of the dunes. I probably only take a vehicle out there once or twice a year, but its fun. In fact I can safely say that most of my neighbors feel the same way, and OHV use doesn’t bother them one bit. I don’t mind the summer traffic on Hwy 1, or the couple times a year when the dune entrance is backed up all the way to Old Juans.

      If I have one complaint, and its a complaint shared by my neighbors, it would be the disrespect of the out of town visitors who stay in the rental houses in our neighborhood, and treat our neighborhood like a frat house. Most are just fine — But there is a noticeable percentage that insist on roaring up and down the street at full speed, partying all night long, blocking driveways/streets, trespassing, and leaving litter in their wake.

      So, consider me a non vocal supporter of the dunes, but it would serve you well to make sure you don’t piss off the locals. The impression most people have of you is from in town — not out on the dunes.

      (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  7. Paperboys says:

    What exactly are they studying? Ways to stop dust from blowing in the wind?
    Unless they are serious about shutting down Oceano Dunes OHV Park they are wasting everyone’s time and the taxpayers’ money.
    And even shutting down the park won’t stop dust from being carried by the wind.
    Folks up on the Mesa need to realize that they sit directly downwind from a sand storm waiting to happen, no matter whether there are vehicles on the sand dunes or not.
    Plus all those eucalyptus trees up there let loose a heck of a lot of pollen which ads to the misery index of anyone with allergies, asthma etc…
    It’s really funny. APCD does this landmark study on particulate matter, tries to pin the cause on the OHV park and then realizes that they don’t have the authority to really do anything about it.
    So they form committees, sign MOAs and make a big stink about searching for a way to stop dust from flying. Which of course is impossible unless you pave it over with asphalt or concrete.
    To the folks up on the Mesa I say get out now while you can, before the APCD declares your neighborhoods to be “unhealthy” and you lose ALL your property’s value.

    (14) 28 Total Votes - 21 up - 7 down
    • SLORider says:

      Paving it over wouldn’t do a thing. 500 million pounds of sand blow onshore locally every year out of the ocean (USGS estimate)… mountains erode to the sea, and littoral currents deposit the sediment back onshore to nourish the beaches. Paving it would probably cause the sediment to blow inland even easier.

      (9) 23 Total Votes - 16 up - 7 down
  8. undertow says:

    How about a list of the names of the attorneys and their elitist friends who feel they can secretly run this county without complying with the Brown act?

    (23) 37 Total Votes - 30 up - 7 down
    • SLORider says:

      Ray Biering, Air district counsel
      Larry Allen, Air Pollution Control Officer & Chair of the Management Oversight Committee
      Gary Willey, Air district employee & Chair of the Technical Advisory Committee
      Bruce Gibson, Technical Advisory Committee

      (11) 31 Total Votes - 21 up - 10 down
      • danika says:

        Thank you, SLORider, for this valuable info. I plan on sharing this info with anyone who will listen. It is important that voters see how their own county allows the blatant disregard for LAW. Transparency my hiney!

        (7) 25 Total Votes - 16 up - 9 down

Comments are closed.