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U.S. EPA finalizes PM-10 attainment finding for San Joaquin Valley

Release Date: 10/17/2006
Contact Information: Lisa Fasano 415-947-4307

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today finalized approval of the state of California’s request to find the San Joaquin Valley air basin is attaining coarse particulate matter, or PM-10 standards.

The Valley has not violated the PM-10 standards from 2003 through the present.

“This is a significant achievement in the Valley’s ongoing effort to reduce air pollution,” said Deborah Jordan, the Air Division director for the EPA’s Pacific Southwest region. “However, we will all need to work hard to reduce ozone and fine particle pollution.”

The finding is based on the California Air Resources Board’s May 2006 request to find Valley air quality in attainment of the PM-10 standards based on the three years of clean air monitoring data - 2003, 2004 and 2005.

“Everyone living, working and doing business in the Valley contributed to this milestone and it will take that same kind of commitment to bring smog and fine dust levels into compliance with federal standards,” Jordan added.

The data are reported to the EPA from the Air Resources Board and the San Joaquin Valley air district’s official air monitoring network. The network consists of 15 monitoring sites from Stockton to Bakersfield, operated in accordance with the EPA’s regulations and guidelines to ensure precision and accuracy.

The EPA is also suspending the Valley’s PM-10 contingency measures requirement with this attainment finding, consistent with EPA’s Clean Data Policy. Contingency measures are rules that are required to be in place and are implemented only if attainment or progress toward attainment is not achieved. However, this finding does not allow the state, district or the EPA to relax any of the measures and commitments that are currently being implemented.

Particle pollution is a complex mixture of extremely small particles and liquid droplets in the air. When breathed in, these particles can reach the deepest regions of the lungs. Exposure to particle pollution is linked to a variety of significant health problems, ranging from aggravated asthma to premature death in people with heart and lung disease. Particle pollution also is the main cause of visibility impairment in the nation’’s cities and national parks.

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