Have we learned our lessons?
The Union’s May 9 article regarding lessons learned from NH 2020 compelled me to write in today. I hope that as a society we have learned to look, listen, and understand before we pledge blind allegiance to a cause. When I consider the reporting in The Union and the actions of our BOS and their appointed department heads, it looks like nothing has been learned. I am basing my statement on several events, three of which have occurred during the last two weeks.
1. Since 1998, the Environmental Defense Fund has been ranking the air quality of individual counties throughout the U.S. (based on data reported to the EPA). Nevada County has consistently remained among the lowest 20 percent in the U.S. (www.scorecard.org).
2. The American Lung Association released its yearly “State of the Air” report. Nevada County received an “F.” This report was ignored by The Union and the Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District (which said western Nevada County was not included in the report, http://www.lungusa.org).
3. At the end of April, the California Air Resources Board released its evaluation of the air district. This evaluation reports on 19 programs and covers the last two or three years (varies with the different programs). The evaluation found that this district is incapable of doing its job. The report included the air district’s Oct. 5, 2001, response to the states findings. Why hasn’t this report been publicized?
4. At the May 7 BOS meeting, the air district hosted a presentation on the detrimental health effects of ozone. A discussion of what we can do locally to promote cleaner air was not included. When I tried to comment about the state report and local solutions, I was not allowed to comment. However, the head of air district called the state evaluation invalid. The air district and the supervisors who serve on the air district’s board have known about this report since last October. The state report should be made available to the public, as should information on how the air district plans to improve its programs and protect our health.
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