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Supervisors’ letter supports air quality bill

To curtail the flow of bad air carried in on the wind from the Bay Area, Nevada County supervisors agreed Tuesday to send a letter of support for legislation requiring the region to clean up its act.

The Bay Area is the only major urban area in California that’s not required to participate in the enhanced inspection and maintenance requirements of the Smog Check II program, said Supervisor Bruce Conklin, who sponsored the lobbying effort.



“That’s because they have wonderfully clean air and we don’t,” said Conklin of the off-shore coastal breezes that stir the air over the Bay Area and send it to Nevada County.




“We’re the victims of second-hand smoke, that’s exactly what it is,” said Supervisor Peter Van Zant.

Nevada County has registered some of the highest ozone concentration levels in the state because it is downwind from the coastal urban region, according to Conklin’s report.

The California Clean Air Act requires that all areas that don’t meet pollution standards to apply control measures on industrial and mobile emission sources.

But requirements in upwind areas should be the same as their downwind recipients, Conklin said.

The Bay Area has violated state and federal health-based air quality standards many times over the last several years and contributed to poor air quality throughout Northern California.

Passage of Assembly Bill 2637 would put an end to the exemption for the Bay Area and allow for cleaner and healthier air in downwind air basins, Conklin said.

“This is a sensible approach – looking at legislation instead of a lawsuit,” Van Zant said.

Downwind air quality districts have filed lawsuits against the California Air Quality Resources Board for not requiring the Bay Area to comply with the Smog Check II program, said County Counsel Charles McKee.

In other business, the supervisors approved a resolution establishing the Nevada County Traffic Safety Committee.

The purpose of the committee is to coordinate traffic safety programs, improve communication and the exchange of information between the agencies involved, and expand and enhance existing programs.

The 25-member committee will include a member from the Board of Supervisors; Grass Valley, Nevada City and Truckee; law enforcement and emergency services representatives from state, county and city levels; a Fire Safe Council representative; and the executive director of the Nevada County Transportation Commission.


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