2010 March 20: CA Grover & Pismo Beach: Grover, Pismo want to delay decision on pollution study

2010 March 20: CA Grover & Pismo Beach: Grover, Pismo want to delay decision on pollution study

By Mike Hodgson and April Charlton Staff Writers / mhodgson@timespressrecorder.com / acharlton@timespressrecorder.com

Two South County cities plan to ask the Air Pollution Control District to delay taking any action on an air pollution study until the state completes an environmental impact report on its proposed purchase of dunes in the off-road riding area.
Grover Beach City Council on Monday agreed by consensus to have the city staff write a letter to the APCD asking that no action be taken on the study that blames most of the Nipomo Mesa particulate pollution on off-roading in the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area.

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On Tuesday, the Pismo Beach City Council followed suit, directing its staff to write a similar letter to the APCD regarding the study that indicates the dust pollution blown up from the dunes could significantly affect residents’ health.

“We all are concerned about public health and public safety,” said Grover Beach Mayor John Shoals, who asked to have the issue placed on the council’s agenda. “That said, we want to make sure the data being presented is complete, correct and scalable. … There are some concerns about some of the assumptions.”

Pismo Beach Councilmember Ed Waage gave a PowerPoint presentation to the council and audience Tuesday that outlines why he believes the air pollution study and the process used was flawed.

Waage, a retired scientist, also is preparing a similar report that he plans to send to the APCD.

The Grover Beach council agreed to send the letter even though Councilwoman Karen Bright, the city’s representative to the APCD, said she doesn’t believe the district plans to take action on the report at the March 24 meeting.

“We will receive the report, and that will be the extent of it,” she said. “There are no alternatives given to us, no mitigation.”

Councilwoman Debbie Peterson said the report “more than anything raised concerns and questions.”

“It looks like science has established that we have an issue. I’d like to see science now establish how we address that,” she said, adding that for her, people come before off-road vehicles.

“I agree, but let’s make sure the information is correct and the analysis is correct,” Shoals said.

Both councils want any decision on the study to be delayed until an EIR is completed on the California Department of Parks and Recreation’s proposal to buy the so-called La Grande tract from the county.

“The EIR will have a bunch of data on air quality,” said Pismo Beach City Manager Kevin M. Rice. “The council is requesting that no action be taken (on the report) until all the facts are gathered. It makes sense.”

The tract, which the state has leased from San Luis Obispo County, makes up about 40 percent of the off-road park.

Andy Zilke, district superintendent for State Parks, said the EIR would include an analysis of impacts on air quality, and as such, the recently released study would be included.

March 19, 2010

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