Bay Area may face stricter smog rule
Local air quality officials were happy to hear that a bill to beef up Bay Area smog checks has landed on Gov. Gray Davis’ desk.
Supporters say the more-stringent checks will trim Sacramento Valley air pollution by up to 10 percent, reducing migrating smog that blows through the Carquinez Straits and Altamont Pass.
“This is what we wanted to see done,” said Joe Fish, air pollution control specialist for the Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District in Grass Valley.
He couldn’t say exactly how much smog blows up here from the Bay, but “reduced ozone levels in Sacramento mean reduced ozone to be blown up into the foothills.”
Western Nevada County has some of the highest chronic ozone levels in the state, due in part to vehicle emissions blown up into the foothills from the Sacramento Valley and the Bay Area.
Earlier this summer, the local air district joined air districts in the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys in a lawsuit seeking stricter Bay Area smog checks.
The state Assembly gave final passage Wednesday to a Smog Check II program for the Bay Area, ending an exemption the region earned during a brief time when it complied with federal air quality standards.
”Smog knows no boundaries,” said Assemblyman Dennis Cardoza, D-Atwater, the bill’s author. ”It affects the rich and the poor and the old and young alike, the San Joaquin Valley farmer and the Bay Area dot-commer.”
The bill, AB 2637, passed the Assembly 61-3. Smog Check II is a tougher test than the traditional visual inspection and tailpipe probe.
The newer test will cost Bay Area motorists about $10 more than their customary smog checks and put some cars on a treadmill to check for nitrogen dioxide, a key ingredient of ozone formation. While bringing the new program to the Bay Area, it also exempts more cars statewide from having to contend with it. Presently, cars less than 4 years old are exempt. The new law extends that exemption to cars less than 6 years old.
On the Net
Read AB2637 at http://www.assembly.ca.gov
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