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U.S. EPA proposing to redesignate the San Joaquin Valley air basin to attainment for coarse particulate matter

Release Date: 04/21/2008
Contact Information: Mary Simms, 415-947-4270,

(4/21/2008 -- SAN FRANCISCO) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today is proposing to redesignate the San Joaquin Valley air basin to attainment of the federal PM-10 coarse particulate matter standard and concurrently proposing to approve the PM-10 maintenance plan for the area.

As part of the proposed rule the EPA would approve the State of California’s request to change the boundary of the SJV nonattainment area by splitting the area into two separate PM-10 nonattainment areas. Geographically, the area would be divided into the San Joaquin Valley air basin PM-10 area, and the East Kern PM-10 area. This change reflects natural geographical and jurisdictional divisions for two distinct air basins. With this split, PM-10 will follow the same regulatory boundaries as PM-2.5 and ozone between the San Joaquin Valley air basin and East Kern.

The maintenance plan retains all current PM-10 controls and monitoring for the area, provides information that shows the area will continue to attain the national ambient air quality standard for PM-10, and provides for contingency measures if the area does not continue to attain.

“The EPA will not relax emission controls, enforcement or monitoring requirements in the San Joaquin Valley,” said Deborah Jordan, Air Division director for the U.S. EPA’s Pacific Southwest region. “We will continue to work with our state and local partners to find new emission reductions needed to achieve the ozone and fine particulate standards.”

The East Kern area will remain a PM-10 nonattainment area until more data is available. The EPA will require the state to install a PM-10 monitor in East Kern, which will enhance air monitoring in the area.

This proposal also addresses exceedances recorded on July 4, 2007 at a monitor in Bakersfield due to a large fireworks display; and on January 4, 2008 due to a large storm system. The Air Resources Board and the district have informed EPA that these exceedances were caused by fireworks and high winds, respectively, and they have submitted documentation to exclude this data from attainment determination purposes as allowed by EPA’s 2007 Exceptional Events Rule. This rule was developed to avoid imposing unreasonable requirements on areas which experience PM and ozone violations due to uncontrollable events unlikely to recur at a particular location.

The proposed finding will be published in the Federal Register within two weeks. A 30-day public comment period will follow. On the web visit:

Members of the media: If you would like to schedule an interview with the EPA to discuss this finding, please contact the media liaison listed above.