No Hearing Board Action Taken on Stipulated Order of Abatement Changes

At its October 17, 2021 meeting the APCD Hearing Board passed a resolution ordering the Air Pollution Control Officer (APCO), Gary Willey, to prepare the road map to meeting the SOA dust emissions reduction requirements. The Hearing Board advised that it would review this road map at a scheduled March 23, 2022 Hearing Board meeting. At the same time the Hearing Board would also consider ordering changes in the 2022 dust control work plan and/or changes to the Stipulated Order of Abatement. For reasons not made public, the planned March meeting was delayed until June 17. At that meeting, representatives of State Parks, the Scientific Advisory Group (SAG), and the Air Pollution Control District presented a joint report. This report included the status of dust control efforts, the results the most recent of emissions reduction measurements and modeling, and a recommended revision to the SOA emissions reduction goal. The joint report and exhibits can be viewed on the Hearing Board web page ( click here ). The SAG has recommended changing the PM10 mass emission reduction goal from 50% to 40.7%. This is based on current dust emissions modeling of the reduction needed to achieve the level of SVRA PM10 dust emissions that existed in 1935. This was before off-highway vehicle activity had destroyed much of the natural vegetation on the dunes. Karl Tupper of the APCD stated that the original 50% goal was based on a preliminary analysis of emissions from the Oso Flaco dune area, where off-highway vehicle riding has been prohibited and vegetation has returned to pre-disturbance levels. Modeling of the off- road riding area indicates that, if pre-disturbance vegetation were restored, emissions would be reduced by 40.1%. Raleigh Martin, the SAG representative, stated that achieving zero exceedances of the PM10 concentration standard would require reducing mass emissions below the level that existed before riding on Oceano Dunes began. The Concerned Citizens for Clean Air opposed any changes to the SOA. Written comments submitted by the public overwhelmingly supported this position. As it happened, the APCO elected to not petition the Hearing Board for a change to the SOA, so no action was taken by the Hearing Board at this meeting. Gary Willey stated he may ask for a change to the SOA at the next Hearing Board meeting. The Hearing Board scheduled a meeting tentatively for October 14, 2022. A Hearing Board meeting for this time was already planned to review the 2022 Annual Report and Work Plan. This report should include the dust control work plan proposed for the final year of the SOA in its current form.

Court Denies Permanent Restraining Order in Favor of Public Health

On February 17, 2022, the San Luis Obispo County Superior Court issued a Temporary Restraining Order prohibiting the California Coastal Commission and State Parks from installing an additional 130.8 acres of dust control measures planned for this Spring. This action is related to lawsuits filed by several off- highway vehicle advocacy groups challenging the legality of approvals of the dust control work. On April 6 Judge Coates issued a tentative ruling, which she subsequently affirmed. She declined to make the injunction permanent on the basis that the greater harm would be to State Parks’ ability to carry out its responsibilities under the Stipulated Order of Abatement to protect public health. ( To see the Judge’s ruling, click here. ) The dust control measures affected by this order were included in State Parks’ 2021/2022 Annual Report and Work Plan (ARWP), which is a requirement of the Air Pollution Control District issued Stipulated Order of Abatement (SOA). The ARWP was approved by the SLO County Air Pollution Control Officer in November, 2021. The Coastal Commission subsequently approved the dust control work described in this plan, including installation of 130.8 acres of new dust control measures. The lawsuits claim these approvals exceed the authority of the approving agencies.

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NEWS Continued on PAGE 2 (click here)

NEWS Continued on PAGE 2 (click here)