Friends of Oceano Dunes appeals judge’s ruling

May 27, 2013

off-roadThe legal battle over the controversial San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control Disctict dust rule will continue in an appellate court.

San Francisco attorney Thomas Roth has filed an appeal on behalf of Friends of Oceano Dunes over San Luis Obispo Superior Court Judge Charles Crandall’s ruling that the APCD has the authority to regulate off-road vehicle activity on the Oceano Dunes.

The dust rule requires the California Department of Parks to reduce the amount of particulate matter blowing from the Oceano Dunes to Nipomo Mesa or face fines of $1,000 a day.

Friends of Oceano Dunes argued that the APCD used flawed scientific practices and failed to prove that off-road vehicle activity on the dunes has caused an increase in pollution on the Nipomo Mesa.

Last month, Crandall upheld the dust rule, ruling against the challenges of Friends of Oceano Dunes and Kevin Rice, a San Luis Obispo citizen. Rice argued that the APCD broke state law by changing the draft of the dust rule just prior to adoption and by failing to notify the public as to how to comment on the matter before it came before the air district board.

Rice chose not to appeal Crandall’s ruling.

The APCD is currently working with state parks to implement the dust rule. However, California Attorney General Kamala Harris has sued the air district on behalf of sate parks, also alleging that the agency used faulty science to reach the conclusion that off-road activity on the dunes is causing an increase in air pollution on the Nipomo Mesa.


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Over forty years ago, while working an evening shift, I had many free days to ride my dirt bike in the dunes. I prefered going after the rain storms because the air was clean and now blowing sand. Yes there was blowing sand, lots of it and nobody else out there most of the time. Back then being alone out in the dunes was a normal occurance during the week days and during a windy day the sand drifts made vision questionable. We’ve all seen the movies with blinding sand storms, well it definitely happens out there and even burried the propts for the movie “The Ten Commandments” filmed on the Easterly edge of the dunes just decades earlier.

Ironically, we now have a ferrel government franchise bearing false witness to obtain funding for this natural occurance.

The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.

The OHV lobbyists would regain credibility and respect if they simply acknowledged that vehicles in the dunes add to the dust problem. This is logical and obvious to anyone who observes the dunes on a day when off road vehicle use is widespread in the dunes. You can see the increased dust in the air from miles away.

Whether or not vehicles should be banned from the dunes is a separate issue. But how can we come to any fair or reasonable conclusion when one faction will not even admit to some very obvious and relevant facts?

Exactly how much additional dust gets kicked up and exactly how much this contributes to health problems is subject to evaluation and interpretation and decisions as to how much is too much. But the obvious fact is that OHVs do kick up dust that is then pushed through the air by wind. How an reasonable people deny this and claim they are being truthful and fair?

How about we start from the TRUTH and work from there?

Is that like saying humans add to the CO2 level? Yes they do but to what level and without them how much would the overall level really change?

I do know that there have ben days when the number of vehicles on the dunes is low but I still see huge clouds of sand blowing in the wind.

I agree the financial effect if vehicles are banned is a separate issue, but our politicians and activists love to group issues together if they feel it helps their position

Wiseguy, APCD falsified the data about the dust levels from vehicle use. Whether there are vehicles on the dunes or not, the wind will still blow the sands. Why take away a practice of probably more than 100+ years of vehicles and their drivers down on the beach enjoying the unique experience that is Pismo Beach. You feel that the OHV people are extreme in their views. I see APCD and the people who bought homes on the Mesa as being extreme. Wearing masks to meetings and APCD trying to get control of the dunes and the $ that goes with it.

I agree, the issue is complicated, but OHV people are trying to preserve the rights of those wishing to use the beach / dunes on vehicles. Every right that we let the government take away moves us closer to losing all of our rights.

Judge Crandall did not find their work to have been falsified. If you believe the data to be inaccurate then instead of FOOD throwing away their money, why don’t they fund some studies by independent sources or Cal Poly, which has the expertise to conduct many of the studies that need to be done. Just because one disagrees with a study does not make it unreliable or invalid.

unlike the OHV lobby which stands to make millions from the Oceano Dunes, APCD has nothing to gain by falsifying anything. Someone can come in right behind and replicate their work and prove them wrong. Put your money where your mouth is.

This is how I see it, to put it simply.

Sand blows, especially in springtime.

The Nipomo mesa is built on sand. Trees and vegetation were planted on the mesa years and years ago and stopped the build up of dunes.There were houses spread around within the trees.

When the big developments (woodlands, Cypress Ridge) came in the trees were taken down. Many, many homes were built. There was no longer a windblock and people are now living where the wind always blew the sand., No one complained because the few people that lived there KNEW the wind blew the sand from the ocean and dunes. Now you bring in people from populated inland areas and are upset because the wind blows the sand and is causing them health problems. If you are prone to health problems due to dust it is going to happen regardless if there are vehicles driving on the dunes.


The issue is not mere sand. It has to do with the particulate matter that are .10 microns and lower created by friction creating fine silicate particulate that is not found in such abundance in similar dune areas without off road activity. FOOD has nothing to do with being friends of the dunes, they are an organization dedicated to use of the dunes by off road and other vehicles that increase and lower the size of PM so as to become more hazardous to humans. In addition, the cost for medical emergencies here and where the off road activists live and the many unpaid bills at Arroyo Grande Community Hospital are germane.

It appears FOOD and their supporters are naive to think saying the same lie over and over will make it real. They appear to take their cues from “Reden and Lernen” by Josef Goebbels. Maybe like Hollywood celebrities, they believe all publicity is good publicity. Some would say they are delusional.

If they think any appeals court will disagree with Judge Crandall, they will be sorely disappointed.

I live on the Mesa. Does anyone care what my thoughts are? No one has asked me my opinion. However people who live somewhere else are speaking on my behalf. How did they take over my property rights? Who made them king of the land? It’s obvious that greed and power motivates these people. If they truly cared, they would have studied myself and family for health problems, and found that we were dying from dust. That to me is scientific. They are manipulating the system to take control over coastal real estate. It’s not the motorized vehicles they want gone, they want the dunes gone. They want a golf course and condos…. So I can be healthier.

You moved onto a sand dune ( the mesa ) and now choose to blame someone else for you and your family’s health problems.

You speak of property rights. What about my property rights? What happens to THOUSANDS of us when the dunes are closed and the area’s economic engine dries up? Are YOU going to make up the lost equity in my home???

You have proved yourself incapable of making rational decisions. First, when you moved onto a sand dune that has been created by thousands of years of blowing sand and dust. Second, when you knowingly keep your family on that same sand dune despite knowing that they have health issues from living there.

This brings me full circle. The wind is always going to blow. The sand and dust are always going to settle on the mesa. We know this, it is nature’s way. With or without human intervention, this is a fact. As such, the best solution to this problem is to ban habitation on the mesa. Return it to the trees and let nature take its course. Anything else is just another example of humans attempting to manipulate nature to fit their idea of how things should be.


Wow, what a dumb ass…. First off, we do not have health problems….. You should really stop commenting on stories like this. You just rant without thinking. I love where I live., and I love the dunes.

Right? You are a medical epidemiologist? If you are that makes Kevin P. Rice a scientist. LOL!!

I was responding to your words :

“…they would have studied myself and family for health problems, and found that we were dying from dust…”

Not sure how you can say you are dying in one post and then follow up with “…we do not have health problems…”

“…rant without thinking…” ??? Everyone else is thinking about closing the dunes and I am thinking about closing the mesa instead. Not sure how you would consider that not thinking.

Lastly, in addition to proving yourself incapable of making rational decisions, you have now shown me that you are incapable of making rational, coherent, respectful posts here without resorting to profanity and name calling.

the development angle is a good one to consider.

So how is the state supposed to cut down on the dust? A line of trees? Hay bales? dune grass? Sprinklers?

Or do they want them to cut in half the number of people using the dunes? That would be the only logical way (in bureaucratic thinking) to reduce the dust — cut the sources down.

Seems to me that one dust particle is pretty much just like another, so how do they know dust is coming from the OHV park and not from the rest of Point Sal dunes or as tomsquawk says from some farmer plowing a field? Wind direction?

What about windy days off season and in the middle of the week when there are few people at the Dunes? Who’s responsible for cutting down the dust on those days? State Parks?

If so, then I don’t blame State Parks for fighting this. The APCD seeks to make it responsible for what is clearly a much bigger problem than just people at the OHV park kicking up dust when they throw a rooster tail into the air.

Maybe State Parks should just shut the place down and walk away. I’m sure Pismo, Grover and Oceano have enough natural beauty that people will still flock there.

Besides, with global warming and sea level rise, the Oceano Dunes won’t be here much longer anyway, at least according to the Coastal Commission.

Good for you, Friends of Oceano Dunes! Give me a break, APCD! I guess the bigger the lie the more likely some people will believe it.

The hoax of dust caused by vehicles on the dunes flies in the face of millions of years of wind blowing the sand on the beaches. Q. Where did the dunes come from???? A. From the wind blown dust. Wind blown dust isn’t limited to the areas where vehicles use the beach / dunes. Anyone who has gone to Fin’s restaurant sees the dust piled in the parking lot. Anyone who walks the promenade in Pismo Beach feels the wind driven sand in their face and the sand floating onto the promenade and the parking lots and the streets.

By APCD fining State Parks $1,000 a day for days when the wind blows, the eventual result will be State Parks closing the beach. (All based on biased / faulty science) The folks who enjoy recreation on the beach will stop coming to this area when beach / dunes are sporadically closed. Then the $70 million +/- economic value of off road enthusiasts visiting the dunes will be lost. Not only ATV rental businesses, but many varied businesses through out the county benefit from that economic boost.

Hello God… you there? Hey we have a problem down here. Will you turn off the wind at the Oceano Dunes. We can’t afford the$1,000 a day fine.


This is the Lord……How long can you tread water?

the farm next to me raises dust when they plow/till and you can always tell when they are organically fertilizing. i say get rid of the farming as well as evil off-roaders