San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution District

This page updated January 31, 2003.

Air Quality Attainment Status -- Ozone

The San Joaquin Valley was originally classified as a Serious nonattainment area which required attainment of the ozone standard by 1999. Federal law requires a Serious ozone area to meet several core requirements that are generally considered adequate to get an area under this designation to attainment by 1999.

Despite the adoption of core measures for Serious ozone areas, the Valley was unable to achieve the federal ozone standard in 1999. In 2000, in response to California’s request, U.S. EPA re-classified the Valley to a Severe nonattainment area for the federal ozone standard and extended the Valley’s ozone attainment date to 2005. Federal law requires Severe ozone nonattainment areas to meet additional core requirements in order to get a deadline extension.

Current Status

The San Joaquin Valley District (District) is preparing a 2003 State Implementation Plan (SIP) revision that complies with federal requirements for a Severe ozone nonattainment area. Elements of the SIP revision include:

   New and more stringent reasonably available control technology (RACT) rules for major stationary sources subject to Severe classification thresholds;

   Adoption of an emissions fee rule that will go into effect if the District fails to attain the ozone standard in 2005;

   A Rate of Progress Plan showing steady, ongoing emission reductions, and specifically showing a reduction in emissions from 1990 levels by 33 percent in 2002, and by 42 percent by 2005;and

   More stringent eligibility requirements and offset ratio for major stationary sources that trigger New Source Review. [might want to put this section into air quality plans link page]

These measures will go a long way to improve air quality in the region. However, even with the additional time and imposition of more stringent requirements, preliminary air quality modeling indicates the region may continue to fall short of ozone attainment by 2005. These reductions would be difficult and extremely costly to meet in the time provided. Without more time, the Valley will face harsh federal penalties and imposition of draconian federal control measures. To avoid these consequences, the District has elected to request a “bump up” to the highest nonattainment classification (extreme). This reclassification extends the attainment date to 2010 provided additional measures are undertaken, including setting stiffer stationary source permit requirements.

The formal request to U.S. EPA to reclassify the San Joaquin Valley as an Extreme ozone nonattainment area will be made in 2003; if the request is accepted, the District will revise its SIP to meet federal requirements for the Extreme classification.

San Joaquin Valley -- Air Quality Attainment Status