The American Lung Association has released their 2009 State of the Air Report. It has some good news and some bad news for Nevada County. Once again Nevada County gets an F for Ozone pollution, with a weighted average 49.5 days of Ozone pollution vulnerability. On the other hand, the County gets an A for short-term particle pollution, one of the top 25 cleanest counties for short- term particle pollution in the nation. Full report can be found here.
Once again, the real issue is the source of the Ozone. It is not generated locally, it blows in from the valley. See the Sierra Environmental Studies Foundation Technical Note TN0709-1 Foothill Furor – Seeking Basis for a Public Policy on Ozone Pollution.
This review led to an in-depth work sessions with Northern Sierra AQMD on important details about how the federal government determines that Nevada County is in non-attainment, and the process through which the county must now reach attainment. These procedures are detailed graphically and explained in TN0709-1.
Most people know that the county can do little to impact its ability to reach the federally mandated standards. So far the county’s only countering argument has been that its ozone is transported from large upwind sources. The report introduces two new and significant factors to this issue. These are 1) the government’s assessment of non-attainment is based on an arbitrary interpretation of unknown county ozone levels, and 2) the government has no reasonable (science supported) process in place by which it can either prescribe or evaluate any county attainment plan submitted to it – i.e. it cannot follow its own procedures.
The Full Report can be downloaded from the SESF Reports Page.