Tuesday, April 21, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Spare me the Spare the Air bluster

faison column sig

By
From page A8 | January 26, 2014 |

There’s a column on these pages from a local libertarian, challenging the merits of the state’s air quality program. He raises good points, such as why restrict wood-burning in residential fireplaces and the like but allow people to sit in drive-thrus while waiting for their lunch or a specialty coffee?

I harken back to my days in the central San Joaquin Valley.

My first experience with the state’s Central Valley was after I graduated from Monterey High School and went to Fresno State. That was the early 1980s. I have distinct memories of being able to look east and see three ridges deep into the snow-capped Sierra Nevada, then turn around and see the coastal range hills to the west. It was beautiful.

That was during the winter months. By summer, the air would thicken with enough muck to partially obscure the mountains to the east and the western foothills. Fresno is nearly central to the valley, so both the Sierras and the coastal range were miles and miles off in the distance.

Fast-forward to current times. I have distinct memories of walking out of the newspaper office in Porterville, looking west and not being able to see the foothills. Porterville is located in southeastern Tulare County, nestled against the foothills leading into the Sierra Nevada. Drive 10 or 15 minutes from the newspaper’s parking lot and you could be 3,000 feet up into the mountains. Yet I couldn’t see those mountains, let alone the foothills, from Porterville.

A steady winter rain will clear the air for a few days, restoring the picturesque views from the valley floor.

The regional air district there has waged war on air pollution for as long as I can remember. Yes, they have Spare the Air days, many more than our record-tying 30 days thus far this winter. I was there when rules were put into place to ban wood-burning fireplaces from all new home construction. You read that correctly: Ban. New fast-food restaurants that include drive-thrus come under intense scrutiny. I was there when the air district studied ways to mitigate the methane that seeps from cow manure at the valley’s many dairies. (That’s true natural gas!). While that sounds funny, and made great news copy while it was taking place, the dairy farmers actually found a way to capture the methane and burn it to generate power.

I recall a 1994 study where the findings indicated that a sizable percentage of the air pollution in the Central Valley – 11 percent of Fresno’s summertime air pollution – came from the Bay Area. So our pollution in Fairfield was drifting west into the San Joaquin Valley, getting trapped in the inversion layer and moving down through my former home. The valley’s air district actually sued the California Air Resources Board in an attempt to stop this “drift.”

I should note that all pollution is not the same. In the summer months, it’s primarily ozone – smog – that’s the problem. Vehicle exhaust and other similar pollutants combine with high temperatures to choke the air. The winter’s pollution is primarily small particulate matter – fine dust – that we all inhale and that gets trapped in our lungs, leading to sometimes fatal consequences for those with weakened respiratory systems. That “dust” includes wood smoke, hence the focus during winter months on curbing wood-burning activities when the air quality begins to worsen.

The state’s various air districts operate under the state’s air resources board. Together they work to bring our air quality into compliance with federal health standards. The various regional boards – including our Bay Area Air Quality Management District and the nearby Yolo-Solano Air Quality Management District, create local policies – such as Spare the Air during the summer and winter months – to help meet these federal objectives.

These efforts are working, based on information on smog and soot released this week by the California Air Resources Board. The gist is that the state’s air quality is significantly better now than it was a decade ago. But there’s work to be done. A third of the state’s population lives where air pollution still exceeds federal health standards. Those areas include parts of greater Los Angeles, the San Joaquin Valley, Sacramento and San Diego, as reported by The Associated Press.

My libertarian friend is correct: We do not elect people to serve on the various air quality boards. But we do elect the people who make the appointments, and we elect the people who make the federal health safety laws these districts are attempting to comply with.

To those who challenge the necessity of programs that promote better air quality, such as the Winter Spare the Air program in our area, I say, go ahead and vote the bums out. Then sit back and watch as our state’s air becomes a kind of soup that kills.

I, for one, opt for blue skies and fresh air – to the greatest extent possible.

Reach Managing Editor Glen Faison at 427-6925 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GlenFaison.

Glen Faison

Glen Faison

Glen Faison joined the Daily Republic as managing editor in September 2009. He previously worked as a reporter and editor for daily and weekly newspapers in the San Joaquin Valley for 20-plus years. His experience includes time as editor of the Golden Eagle, a military paper serving the Lemoore Naval Air Station. He graduated from Fresno State University with a bachelor's degree in journalism and bleeds Bulldogs red. He is an avid Washington Redskins fan, and attended the 1988 NFC Championship Game against the Minnesota Vikings at RFK Stadium. He married his wife, Jill, in 2005, and has three children: Courtni, Tyler and Hayli.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 5 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Legend1949January 26, 2014 - 7:56 am

    Glen, The one point I didn't see was that Fairfields pollution is blown in from the bay area, of which we are not a part of , hwy 80 bringing cars from the bay area and last but not least , the Sacramento valley blows this way How can four small cities generate enough pollution to cause Fresno problems? Follow the air patterns before the wind passes our area

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Glen FaisonJanuary 26, 2014 - 11:50 am

    @Legend1949: Fairfield is part of the greater Bay Area Air Quality Management District, so by definition the East Bay air pollution to our east is our air pollution here in Fairfield. When air quality becomes unhealthy in one part of the district, a Spare the Air day is called for the entire district. That's how the system is designed. As for air flow, it blows both from the east and to the east from here, depending on the time of year and the prevailing weather patterns.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • The MisterJanuary 26, 2014 - 8:27 am

    If it's clean air you want in Fairfield, then I-80 needs to be re-routed. Why pick on the local residents who want to light a fire to keep warm? I'm sure they are a very small percentage of Fairfield residents. Heck... they live in FF... don't you think we should stop those foreign trucks and cars from dumping their pollution in FF? Now I hear that some really bad air pollution from China has hit the west coast. So now we have to limit FF people from pharting? Where does it end?! Foreign air pollution comes in to FF and FF residents have to accept the punishment. So... let's stop all I-80 traffic from going thru FF and let's ban all China-made goods from being bought or sold in FF. And let's leave the people with fireplaces alone!!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Glen FaisonJanuary 26, 2014 - 12:03 pm

    @The Mister: I heard the same argument when I lived in the Central Valley. Why go after the home fireplaces and the dairies when all these trucks are passing through the region on Interstate 5 and Highway 99, kicking up roadside dust and microscopic rubber shavings from their tires as they roll by, not to mention the vehicle exhaust that trails behind them? Trucking of that sort is considered interstate commerce, which is governed by Congress. As such, it cannot be regulated by a regional air quality management district. So California's air districts, to comply federal health safety requirements, must do so by addressing the forms of pollution that can be addressed in accordance with federal law. That's the local stuff like wood-burning fireplaces, agricultural burns, dust at construction sites and so on. The state adds its layer of regulations as well, again within the restrictions of the law, to help enhance air quality. The federal government likewise is involved through such things as more-restrictive fuel-efficiency standards for new vehicles. But the trucks ... That requires a conversation with our local congressman.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • LilJanuary 26, 2014 - 1:32 pm

    This Christmas I was in the Central Valley, in a small town between Modesto and Fresno. The smog there was unbelievable. If you can see your air, it is not good to breathe. The pollution from the Bay Area and Fairfield, blows to the valley where it is stopped by the Sierra Nevadas. Have you guys been seeing the news about China? No restrictions and that's our future. Sure, wood burning might be a small contributor but I bet all you complaining would complain the same way if you are a truck driver needing to comply with emission rules. Pollution is our pollution. Unless you live with no car, only walk, never use electricity or any modern product, you are a part of the problem. Spare the Air days are an attempt to try to solve the problem. It's too bad that people are so concerned about having a cozy fire instead of thinking of the rest of the citizens of this state.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

 
Kids Day of Fishing began with $20 donation

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
Chabad will begin Torah for Solano Jewish community

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Library foundation executive moves to Child Haven

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A5

 
Theater schedules free screening of Sundance film

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A8

Vacaville plans recreation expo

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5

 
Frazier to discuss transportation at EDC breakfast

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

 
Fairgrounds site of horse-betting seminar, brunch

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5

Il Fiorello schedules vegetarian cuisine class

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A6

 
Fairfield police log: April 19, 2015

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: April 19, 2015

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

Lawmakers seek FDA review of ingredients used in cosmetics

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
 
 
Sheriff’s domestic violence-related conviction erased

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Utah woman gets up to life in prison in deaths of 6 newborns

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
 
Lawyer: Washington Post reporter in Iran faces 4 charges

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Bombs shatter houses in Yemen capital, hit near Iran Embassy

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Questions, answers about federal anti-radicalization effort

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Where US sees terror prevention, some Muslims see profiling

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 4 Comments | Gallery

 
Chemistry Ph.D. student illustrates her thesis in comic book

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Public memorial held for the Rev. Robert Schuller

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
SC paper wins Pulitzer for reporting on domestic abuse

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
.

Opinion

 
Why does Fed insist on targeting inflation?

By Ramesh Ponnuru | From Page: A11, 2 Comments

Income disparity study results ironic

By Dan Walters | From Page: A11, 32 Comments

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: April 21, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
.

Entertainment

 
Bobby Brown’s lawyer: Bobbi Kristina Brown has opened eyes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

US writer who fled Austria to escape Holocaust dead at 90

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Vice News, NPR, CNN, WNYC win double Peabody Awards

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

HBO planning to deal Web pot sitcom ‘High Maintenance’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Kolbert’s ‘Sixth Extinction’ wins Pulitzer for nonfiction

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Wolfe’s ‘Anthracite Fields’ wins Pulitzer for music

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Anthony Doerr wins Pulitzer Prize for fiction

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Elizabeth A. Fenn wins Pulitzer Prize for history

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Gregory Pardlo’s ‘Digest’ wins Pulitzer Prize for poetry

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

David I. Kertzer wins Pulitzer for biography-autobiography

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Stephen Adly Guirgis wins Pulitzer for drama

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

.

Sports

Mustangs rally in seventh inning to top Falcons

By Daily Republic staff | From Page:

 
AP source: Peterson stays home from Vikings workouts

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Report: 2 teams needed to make California stadium profitable

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Data deluge: MLB rolls out Statcast analytics on Tuesday

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Former Chicago Bears linebacker Doug Buffone dead at 70

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
New format means injured drivers no longer must race

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Saunders: ‘I’m the coach until I say I’m not’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Faldo to make final appearance at British Open this year

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Braves’ McKirahan suspended 80 games for positive drug test

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Raptors Lou Williams wins NBA Sixth Man Award

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Ugly Olympic conflict breaks into open at Sochi conference

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Pacquiao gets in 2 words before conference call cancelled

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Eagles sign quarterback Tim Tebow to 1-year contract

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
McLellan out after 7 years as coach of San Jose Sharks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Pelicans coach says Warriors arena noise might be too loud

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Police: LA Kings’ Jarret Stoll had cocaine, Ecstasy in Vegas

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Desisa wins 119th Boston Marathon; Rotich takes women’s race

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Jockey Chris Antley leads Racing Hall of Fame class

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

.

Business

Judge returns ultra-rich club founder Tim Blixseth to jail

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Running out of time: Limited-time deals can be limiting

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

$134M proposed for 10 BP-funded oil spill recovery projects

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Hormel says bird flu outbreak will hurt turkey sales

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Bird flu confirmed at Iowa farm with 5.3 million chickens

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
US stocks gain, rebounding from Friday’s slump; Hasbro jumps

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Survey: US businesses expect sales rebound, more hiring

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Bristol-Myers: 2 cancer drugs beat 1 against melanoma

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Halliburton says has cut 9,000 jobs in wake of oil’s drop

By T. Burt McNaughton | From Page: B4

Labor group seeks rehiring of workers at 5 Wal-Mart sites

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Frederick’s of Hollywood files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Willie Nelson becomes latest celebrity in marijuana business

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

 
Kraft Mac & Cheese shedding the dyes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

ESPN says Verizon’s new FiOS TV packages violate agreements

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Lawsuit: Southwest failed to respond to medical emergency

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Bridge April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B8

 
Get Fuzzy April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Peanuts April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Rose is Rose April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Frank and Ernest April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Baby Blues April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

For Better or Worse April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Word Sleuth April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B8

Dilbert April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7, 1 Comment

 
Cryptoquote April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B8

Sally Forth April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Garfield April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Crossword April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B8

 
B.C. April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Wizard of Id April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Blondie April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Beetle Bailey April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Baldo April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Zits April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Pickles April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Sudoku April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B8