Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
EPA Targets California Over Poor Air Quality
gvw_ap_news
By Associated Press
Published 5 years ago on
September 24, 2019

Share

The Trump administration on Tuesday blamed California’s worst-in-the nation air quality on shoddy paperwork, calling on the state to overhaul its plans for cleaning up toxic smog or risk losing billions in federal road dollars.
The government’s warning is the latest battle between the Trump administration and California. It comes days after the Trump administration moved to block the state’s emission standards for cars and trucks, a move that would eliminate California’s most important weapon for combating its biggest source of pollution.

“It makes no sense. What they are doing today is basically punishing California for EPA’s own inaction.” — Gay MacGregor, a former senior policy adviser for the EPA Office of Transportation and Air Quality from 1983 until 2016
Tuesday’s announcement by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler chastised California for its backlog of pending rules and regulations to reduce pollution in areas that do not meet federal air quality standards.
But Wheeler’s letter to the California Air Resources Board puzzled state regulators and even former EPA officials who say the backlog exists because the federal government has not approved the plans.
“It makes no sense,” said Gay MacGregor, a former senior policy adviser for the EPA Office of Transportation and Air Quality from 1983 until 2016. “What they are doing today is basically punishing California for EPA’s own inaction.”
The federal government sets rules for how much pollution can be in the air. Lots of places in the country don’t meet those standards. But no state has more problems than California, where 85% of the population — 34 million people — breathe dirty air.

The Government Would Punish the State by Withholding Federal Road Dollars

Federal law requires states with dirty air to come up with a plan on how to reduce pollution. Those plans must be approved by the EPA. The federal agency has a backlog of these plans awaiting approval, and California accounts for more than 130 of them, or about one-third of the total.
Wheeler blamed California for the backlog on Tuesday, saying most of the plans are “inactive” and have “fundamental issues related to approvability.” He asked the state to withdraw the plans and come up with new ones. If they don’t, the government would punish the state by withholding federal road dollars. But that punishment involves a process that could take up to 18 months.
“California has failed to carry out its most basic responsibilities under the Clean Air Act, and as a result, millions of Californians live in areas that do not meet our nation’s air quality standards,” Wheeler said in a news release. “EPA stands ready to work with California to meet the Trump Administration’s goal of clean, healthy air for all Americans, and we hope the state will work with us in good faith.”
Wheeler’s announcement, detailed in a letter sent to California regulators, “contains multiple inaccuracies, omissions and misstatements,” according to Richard Corey, executive officer of the California Air Resources Board.
The letter lists six California plans it says are not in compliance. It includes one for Ventura County for the 1997 federal ozone standards. But Ventura County already meets the 1997 standards, so a state plan is not required, said Ali Ghasemi, division manager for the Ventura County Air Quality Pollution Control District.
The letter also chastises Southern California’s Coachella Valley for an inadequate plan addressing the 2008 ozone standard.

The EPA Says It Plans to Issue $40 Million in Grants

“That’s news to us,” said Philip Fine, deputy executive officer for Planning and Rules at the South Coast Air Quality Management District. “We work very closely with the (EPA) to make sure everything we submit is approvable and staff there told us there were no issues with it. We were expecting approval.”

“California and other states had to go to court, repeatedly, to get the EPA to implement the strict smog standards it claims to be worried about.” — Richard Corey, executive officer of the California Air Resources Board
Much of California’s smog problem comes from its 35 million registered cars and trucks, the most of any state. But the problem is also compounded in Southern California, home to two of the world’s largest ports where much of the country’s freight passes through and is carried away on diesel trucks and trains.
Only the federal government can regulate emissions from trains, planes, ships and heavy-duty trucks, according to Corey, the executive officer of the California Air Resources Board.
“California and other states had to go to court, repeatedly, to get the EPA to implement the strict smog standards it claims to be worried about,” he said.
The EPA says it plans to issue $40 million in grants to help areas around the country meet federal air quality standards, including several communities in California.
Separately Tuesday, California sued the EPA over the federal agency’s March determination that salt ponds in the San Francisco Bay Area are not “waters of the United States” that are protected under the Clean Water Act. That reverses a 2016 decision by a regional EPA office.
A private company owns the salt ponds, and Becerra said the EPA’s move aims to fast track development.

DON'T MISS

The Cost to Inform California Voters? $118,000 a Page for Official Guide

DON'T MISS

Top Russian Military Officials Are Being Arrested. Why Is It Happening?

DON'T MISS

Delta Tunnel Water Project May Finally Be Nearing a Historic Decision

DON'T MISS

CA Senate Passes Hospital Seismic Compliance Bill: What’s the Impact on Local Hospitals?

DON'T MISS

Take This Memorial Day Quiz Before Warming up the Grill

DON'T MISS

Hate Wasting Money? Use These 7 Hacks to Feed Your Family for Less

DON'T MISS

NCAA and Leagues Back $2.8 Billion Settlement, Setting Stage for Current, Former Athletes to Be Paid

DON'T MISS

UC Berkeley Faces a Summer of Discontent as Gaza Protesters Remain Steadfast

DON'T MISS

Newsom Promised 1,200 Tiny Homes for Homeless Californians. How Many Are Being Used?

DON'T MISS

Fresno Unified Unveils 5-Year Literacy Plan. What Are the Expectations?

UP NEXT

CA Senate Passes Hospital Seismic Compliance Bill: What’s the Impact on Local Hospitals?

UP NEXT

UC Berkeley Faces a Summer of Discontent as Gaza Protesters Remain Steadfast

UP NEXT

Newsom Promised 1,200 Tiny Homes for Homeless Californians. How Many Are Being Used?

UP NEXT

UAW Files Objection to Mercedes Vote, Accuses Company of Intimidating Workers

UP NEXT

Fresno Man Charged with Throwing Meth into Mendota Prison Yard

UP NEXT

American Airlines Retreats After Blaming a 9-Year-Old for Not Seeing a Hidden Camera in a Lavatory

UP NEXT

Cal Chamber’s Job Killer List Shrinks, but Does Its Influence?

UP NEXT

California Advances Legislation Cracking Down on Stolen Goods Resellers and Auto Theft

UP NEXT

Portland Nurse Returns Home After Treating Gaza Burn Victims

UP NEXT

Search and Rescue Ongoing After Iowa Tornado; 1 Dead

CA Senate Passes Hospital Seismic Compliance Bill: What’s the Impact on Local Hospitals?

1 day ago

Take This Memorial Day Quiz Before Warming up the Grill

1 day ago

Hate Wasting Money? Use These 7 Hacks to Feed Your Family for Less

1 day ago

NCAA and Leagues Back $2.8 Billion Settlement, Setting Stage for Current, Former Athletes to Be Paid

2 days ago

UC Berkeley Faces a Summer of Discontent as Gaza Protesters Remain Steadfast

2 days ago

Newsom Promised 1,200 Tiny Homes for Homeless Californians. How Many Are Being Used?

2 days ago

Fresno Unified Unveils 5-Year Literacy Plan. What Are the Expectations?

2 days ago

Man Sentenced to 25 Years for Teaching Bomb-Making to Person Targeting Authorities

2 days ago

UCLA Police Arrest Young Man for Alleged Felony Assault in Attack on Pro-Palestinian Encampment

2 days ago

UAW Files Objection to Mercedes Vote, Accuses Company of Intimidating Workers

2 days ago

The Cost to Inform California Voters? $118,000 a Page for Official Guide

What’s the cost of democracy in California? Sameea Kamal CalMatters If we calculate that based just on the pages informing the state’s 22...

6 hours ago

6 hours ago

The Cost to Inform California Voters? $118,000 a Page for Official Guide

6 hours ago

Top Russian Military Officials Are Being Arrested. Why Is It Happening?

6 hours ago

Delta Tunnel Water Project May Finally Be Nearing a Historic Decision

1 day ago

CA Senate Passes Hospital Seismic Compliance Bill: What’s the Impact on Local Hospitals?

1 day ago

Take This Memorial Day Quiz Before Warming up the Grill

1 day ago

Hate Wasting Money? Use These 7 Hacks to Feed Your Family for Less

2 days ago

NCAA and Leagues Back $2.8 Billion Settlement, Setting Stage for Current, Former Athletes to Be Paid

2 days ago

UC Berkeley Faces a Summer of Discontent as Gaza Protesters Remain Steadfast

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend