Release 98-38      
June 25, 1998


Joe Irvin
Jerry Martin
(916) 322-2990
California: U.S. EPA Decision to Redesignate Bay Area "Defies Logic"

-- Reaction today by California environmental policymakers to the federal government's decision to list the Bay Area as out of attainment with federal ozone standards was swift and blunt.

"This is another exercise in contradictions by the federal government," said John D. Dunlap, Chairman of the California Environmental Protection Agency's Air Resources Board. Last summer, the President said to maximize common sense and minimize paperwork when implementing new federal ozone standards, yet EPA has effectively done just the opposite.

"It's unfortunate that EPA chose to ignore the advice of Governor Wilson, his environmental agency and the Bay Area AQMD to withdraw their proposal (to redesignate to nonattainment)," said Dunlap. "They also ignore the evidence of a steady downward trend in the Bay Area's air pollutant emissions. There hasn't been an ozone exceedance in the Bay Area over the past 22 months. This is a distraction from the real work already in progress to dramatically reduce even further the smog-forming emissions that should prevent ozone violations in the future."

Work in progress includes ongoing State measures for mobile sources, including the introduction of low- and ultra-low emission vehicles, that over the next three years will cut emissions in the Bay Area by 75 tons per day and local measures that will reduce emissions by 34 tons per day.

The Clinton Administration's action today actually hurts our environmental protection efforts because it will result in a loss of $48 million over the next six years in federal revenue that would otherwise be going to projects aimed at reducing pollution in the Bay Area.

"If this district and the state were jogging in place on air quality improvement, this action would be understandable. But we are sprinting forward in accordance with our state implementation plan and maintenance requirements. EPA's decision really does defy logic," said Dunlap.

The Air Resources Board is a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency. ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.