Northern SLO County ranked nation’s smoggiest small metropolitan area

September 22, 2011

Environment America ranked San Luis Obispo, Atascadero and Paso Robles as the nation’s smoggiest small metropolitan area–an area with a population of less than 250,000–in a report released Wednesday. [KSBY]

Overall, the area was ranked number 17 of the nation’s smoggiest places to live.

“I think that any person looking up into the sky today would say air quality is good, but we do have some hot spots in certain locales,” Larry Allen, the executive director of the Air Pollution Control District told KSBY.

Allen said the Red Hills and Carrisa Plains areas often see the highest levels of ozone in the state because of pollution from the San Joaquin Valley.

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Outstanding report. This is good PR for us. Hopefully it will discourage people from moving to the area.

I think this report is misleading and does not include a complete explanation of how the data is determined. It appears that there are a number of sensors within a defined area – in this case it seems that the area is determined by the county boundary. There are a few sensors located in the eastern portion of the county which receives ozone generated in the central valley. The data indicates that there were 17 days which the “county” contained unhealthy air. Those 17 days which those eastern sensors indicate unhealthy air do not reflect the true measurement of air quality for the vast majority of the portion of northern San Luis Obispo County where 99% of the residents of northern San Luis Obispo county live.

You should all be angry in knowing that your tax dollars are being used to fund a study like this one which apparently contains misleading conclusions and the value of something I would flush into our sewer system.

1) No taxpayer money here. The report was compiled by an enviro non-profit.

2) It’s not a study. It has no scientific authority. It is only a report compiled of public data. There is nothing misleading about the report except the way the news presents it locally. The report does not attempt to define geographic locales within counties; it only reports on county totals. That’s not misleading. The local layman interpretation is defective.

3) North county has air monitors in Paso, Atascadero, Red Hills and Carrizo. Not all of the unhealthy days were confined to the far eastern monitors.