SLO County air pollution agency to discuss dust abatement

June 17, 2022

By KAREN VELIE

The San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District (APCD) is scheduled to discuss changes to its controversial agreement with State Parks on Friday, even though the APCD has not yet done a proportional analysis to determine how much of the particulate matter 10 microns or less in diameter blowing on the Nipomo Mesa is mineral dust from the Oceano Dunes.

State Parks entered into a stipulated order of abatement with the APCD in 2018 based on a disputed assertion the dust on the mesa is primarily mineral dust. The order requires the state to reduce wind-blown dust, specifically dust particles that are 10 microns or less in diameter, on the Nipomo Mesa by 50%. The APCD plans to discuss changing that parameter during Friday’s meeting.

In Dec. 2021, State Parks Off-Highway motor Vehicle Recreation Commission board members chastised APCD staff for their alleged false claims regarding the origin and content of particulate pollution detected on the mesa. A scientist with the prestigious Scripps Institution of Oceanography had analyzed the particulate and determined only 14% of the particles blowing on the mesa consist of mineral dust.

Footage from a Dec. 2021 California Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Commission meeting where attendees refute the APCD’s findings.

In May, the state commissioners accused APCD staff of failing to follow the basic standard of practice for computer modeling in determining the origin of dust blowing on the Nipomo Mesa, according to a May 13 letter from the State Parks Off-Highway motor Vehicle Recreation Commission to the APCD.

Jack Gillies, one of the scientists who created the computer model for the APCD, argues that even though their model does not distinguish what each particle is, “there are essentially no other sources that would be making any significant contribution to the PM10.”

Critics of the APCD argue that the agency’s failure to determine how much dust is coming from agricultural fields, from roads, from other dunes outside the state parks diminishes their findings.

At a cost of $22 million, the state has installed more than 230 acres of dust mitigation measures within the 1,000-acre off-highway vehicle riding area at the Oceano Dunes. Even so, the number of violations for exceeding the state’s pollution standard on the Nipomo Mesa in May 2022 was the highest in eight years, which further refutes the argument that vehicles on the dunes are the cause of pollution on the mesa.


Loading...

5
Leave a Reply

Please Login to comment
matthwy58

I can’t wait for the headline: SLO county to discuss APCD abatement


Messkit

Does anyone involved in this circus, have any idea how the Mesa got there in the first place?


commonsenseguy

What? At the cost of $22 million dollars the dust mitigation process didn’t work and the levels were the highest ever last month? What else needs to said about the false findings?

What needs to be said is this, those of the APCD any state agency involved need to be criminally held accountable for the stealing of taxpayer funds for yet another government hoax on the hard-working American people. The APCD needs to immediately be defunded and dissolved. This garbage must stop, and those involved with this lie, prosecuted.


Jorge Estrada

I see the sand dunes as a cash cow for the feeding frenzy of the APCD. If they really want a garrenteed paycheck, there is money for defered pavement maintenance which, by neglegence, causes dust in areas that have road maintenance obligations. This could be a pay the fine or fix the road decission which is consistant with other type opperations that just pay the fine. Sadly, rediculous needs to affect everyone before it gets fixed.


ShootTheMessenger

Dude, you need a spell checker!