Grover Beach Council spurns mayor’s campaign against APCD dust rule
July 16, 2013
Grover Beach Mayor Debbie Peterson, who is campaigning to repeal the San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District dust rule, petitioned her fellow council members Monday to join her in opposition to the regulation. Peterson did not win over any of her colleagues.
The dust rule requires the California Department of Parks to reduce the amount of particulate matter blowing from the Oceano Dunes to the Nipomo Mesa or pay fines of $1,000 a day to the APCD. The APCD claims that off-road vehicle activity on the dunes has caused an increase in pollution on the Nipomo Mesa.
In advance of an APCD board meeting next week, Peterson asked the other four members of the Grover Beach council to express opposition to the APCD levying fines upon the state agency. Likewise Peterson, requested that her colleagues join her in opposing a section of the dust rule that will require state parks to obtain and hold a permit from the APCD in order to operate the off-road riding area.
Peterson said the dust rule threatened the existence of the off-road riding area due to the potential for a revocation of the permit.
“If you don’t want to give somebody the authority to yank a permit, don’t require the permit in the first place,” Peterson said. “We are giving one person the power that could have huge implications for the state.”
Each of the other four council members, however, said they do not see the dust rule as a threat to off-road vehicle activity on the dunes.
County Supervisor Adam Hill, who sits alongside Peterson on the APCD board, spoke during public comment and also said the rule does not threaten off-road vehicle access.
“There is not a threat,” Hill said. “This is a false debate. We don’t need to have it.”
Hill chastised Peterson during the last APCD board meeting for regularly asking questions of staff. On Monday, he prefaced his remarks by telling the council that Grover Beach has “never had a better friend at the county than I have been.”
About 25 speakers in total spoke during public comment, the majority of whom supported Peterson and opposed the dust rule.
Former Grover Beach Mayor David Ekbom said money is the driving force of the APCD’s dust rule.
“They need to find a new source of revenue,” Ekbom said. “They found this pocket of gold out in the dunes.”
The APCD board will meet July 24, and it will most likely vote on whether to levy $49,000 of air monitoring permit fees on state parks.
Peterson is currently circulating a petition to repeal the dust rule entirely. As of Tuesday, the petition has 278 signatures.
The dust rule is also facing a legal challenge from California Attorney General Kamala Harris. On behalf of state parks, Harris sued the APCD, alleging the district used faulty science in passing the rule and did not prove that off-road vehicle activity has caused an increase in pollution on the Nipomo Mesa.