In 1970, California legislation was passed that placed the primary responsibility of controlling air pollution at the local level. Following this action, the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors formed the local Air Pollution Control District (APCD) and became the APCD Board. In 1995, the APCD Board was expanded to include representation from all incorporated cities throughout the county. Today, the APCD Board consists of 12 members; five County Supervisors and one city council member from each of the seven incorporated cities. The Board is the decision-making body for the District and is responsible for adopting rules, setting policies and providing direction on important air quality issues impacting the county. APCD Board appoints an Air Pollution Control Officer (APCO), who has administrative responsibility for issuing permits and enforcing air quality rules. The APCD has conducted in-depth studies of the PM dust pollution experienced on the Nipomo Mesa, and has concluded “the source of the elevated particulate matter (PM) pollution to be windblown dust from the open sand areas of the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area (SVRA).”  Consequently, the APCD adopted Rule 1001 , which established a requirement that the State Parks Oceano Dunes OHMVR Division limit PM emissions from the SVRA that are significantly in excess of the natural background emissions from the Oso Flaco non-riding area. This rule was disputed by the Friends of The Oceano Dunes in court, but the authority of the APCD to enforce Rule 1001 air quality requirements was eventually upheld. State Parks OHMVR Division has acknowledged that is required to comply with Rule 1001 air quality requirement, but has failed to make significant progress toward compliance. Consequently, on June 12, 2017 the APCO issued a Notice of Violation to the OHMVR Division’s Acting Deputy Director. This ultimately lead to an abatement hearing and a APCD Hearing Board approved Stimulated Order of Abatement (April 2018). The Board of Supervisor’s website states “… Board of Supervisors serves as the County’s legislative body, setting policies and priorities to best serve the needs of the community.” However, the County of San Luis Obispo is indirectly a contributor to the PM dust pollution problem. Studies have shown that the part of the SVRA known as the La Grande Tract is the largest source of high concentration PM emissions. This land is largely owned by the County. Originally, OHMVR Division’s use of this tract was authorized by a written Operating Agreement (1983) County. This Operating Agreement expired in 20008 and has not been formally renewed or replaced. The Coastal Commission agrees that currently no County approval exists for State Parks’s operation on the portion of the La Grande Track owned by SLO County. The County Health Commission expressed concern about the health risks associated with the PM dust pollution emitted from the Oceano Dunes SVRA vehicle activity in a May 15, 2017 letter to the Board of Supervisors. The Board of Supervisors has failed to address the substance of this concern.
This report describes a special air monitoring study conducted by the San Luis Obispo County APCD to better define the spatial distribution and neighborhood impacts of the windblown dust plume that originates from the Oceano Dunes during high northwest wind conditions.
SLO County Air Pollution Control District
APCD website page describing the APCD’s mission.
SLO County Air Pollution Control District
Gateway to public information about and provided by the Board of Supervisors.
SLO County Board of Supervisors
APCD Rule 1001 text, which establishes criteria for determining acceptable levels of PM emissions from the Oceano Dunes SVRA.
SLO County Air Pollution Control District
Notice of violation letter to Deputy Director, OHMVR Division from APCD Air Pollution Control Office, dated June 12, 2017.
SLO County Air Pollution Control District
Health Commission letter to Board of Supervisors expressing health concerns about Oceano Dunes SVRA PM emissions.
SLO County Health Commission
News article reporting on APCD notice of violation sent to State Parks.
San Luis Obispo Tribune by Kaytlyn Leslie
Grand Jury report of finding that ODSRVA dune dust poses a health risk to Nipomo Mesa residents, along with recommendations for action if State Parks fails to mitigate.
SLO County Grand Jury
The County staff report adopted by the Board of Supervisors in response to the above Grand Jury report, and forwarded to the presiding judge without change.
SLO County Board of Supervisors

Mesa Air Facts!

Concerned Citizens for Clean Air
APCD website page describing status of the APCD’s efforts to bring the OHMVR Division into compliance with California air quality standards.
SLO County Air Pollution Control District