Valley Air District Urges Residents to Reduce Driving

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Submitted by SJV Valley Air District

Valley Air District officials are urging residents to reduce driving and other emission-producing activities this week due to unseasonably high temperatures.  Although ozone numbers are not forecast to reach Air Alert levels, the high temperatures and stagnant conditions may lead to elevated ozone levels, unusual for this time of year.

Despite abnormally high temperatures and a string of wildfires, this year has proven to be another year of historically low ozone levels for the Valley.  In fact, this summer, the Valley set new records for having the longest stretch of consecutive days with no exceedances of the most stringent 8-hour standard (75 ppb) established by the federal government.

The Air District credits Valley businesses, farmers and residents for the significant progress the Valley has made in reducing ozone pollution.

“We were prepared to declare Air Alerts throughout the summer, especially after the start of the school year, to urge Valley residents to cut back on driving.  However, ozone levels never reached the trigger level necessary to declare an Air Alert,” said Seyed Sadredin, the District’s air pollution control officer and executive director.

If the trend continues, 2014 will be the second consecutive year during which the Valley has not had a violation of the 1-hour ozone standard.  This is the standard for which the Valley has been subject to the $29 million penalty under the federal Clean Air Act.  The Air District has already submitted a formal request to the California Air Resources Board and the federal EPA to revoke this penalty and is awaiting formal response to declare the Valley in attainment of this challenging standard.

“With just a few critical days left in the ozone season for the year, we are asking the public to help stay below the standard, which will force EPA action to lift the $29 million penalty,” added Sadredin.

Local air officials are reminding Valley residents to use air-friendly strategies including:

  • Reducing driving by trip linking and eliminating unnecessary trips
  • Walking or biking to school
  • Reducing idling when dropping off or picking up students
  • Carpooling, vanpooling and using mass transportation

“As the Valley has proven time and again, when we come together in a common cause, we can achieve remarkable results,” Sadredin said.

Residents can check their current, localized air quality by subscribing to the free Real-time Air Advisory Network (RAAN), which links a computer or smart phone to any monitor in the District’s Valley-wide network. Hourly, automated emails are delivered when air quality is changing. For more information or to subscribe, visit www.valleyair.org/RAAN.  Residents can check their daily air quality forecast at the website or by calling 1-800 SMOG INFO (766-4463). Also, visit the District on Facebook at “Valley Air” and follow us on Twitter (@Valleyair).

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