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Date sent:      Wed, 23 Dec 1998 11:59:23 -0500 (EST)
From:           [email protected]
Subject:        Agencies say smog on rise in Bay Area
To:             [email protected]

This was forwarded to you by Denny. It first appeared in Hot CoCo,, the online edition of the Contra Costa Times.

Comments from Denny:


 Published on December 23, 1998

 Agencies say smog on rise in Bay Area

 -- Air district says federal standards violated on eight days in '98,
 calls hot weather the cause; some think growth leading to problems 


 After 25 years of progress in the war on smog, the Bay Area has breathed
 dirtier air three of the past four summers -- a possible sign that the
 region is having trouble keeping with burgeoning growth.

 The Bay Area Air Quality Management District reported Tuesday that the
 air exceeded the federal health standard for smog eight days this year.
 There were also eight dirty air days in 1996 and 11 in 1995.

 Early in the decade, the region was averaging three or fewer dirty air
 days per year.

 Air district managers put most of the blame for the increase on unusually
 hot, stagnant air that speeds up the conversion of auto and factory
 exhaust into eye- and lung-stinging smog.

 Even though we had these excesses ...  we continue to believe that our
 emissions are going down and will continue to do so, said Ellen Garvey,
 the air district's chief executive. The warmer the weather, the higher
 the potential for smog.

 But a district staff report issued in October 1997 suggested that growth,
 traffic congestion and ineffective nozzles at gas station pumps may be
 pumping out more pollution than anticipated.

 During the 1990s progress appears to have lapsed; there appears to have
 been an increase in ozone potential, after accounting for meteorology,
 wrote district planners.

 Tom Perardi, the air district's planning chief, appeared to back off that
 report Tuesday, saying computer models show that cars and factories are
 putting increasingly less pollution into the air.

 Federal air regulators, however, said this summer's smoggy air
 strengthens their contention that the Bay Area has significant pollution

 We think three out four years indicates a problem, said Deborah Jordan,
 the Environmental Protection Agency's associate director of the air
 division in San Francisco. We believe the Bay Area has a significant
 problem particularly affecting children and the elderly.

 Smog, or photochemical ozone, irritates the lungs and eyes and aggravates
 asthma or other breathing problems.

 Environmentalists said Tuesday they also believe pollution sources have

 There is more pollution going in the air, said Denny Larson, Northern
 California campaign director for Communities for a Better Environment, a
 statewide group based in San Francisco.

 He added that hard economic times prompted the air district to back off
 its drive for new industrial regulatory measures in the early 1990s, and
 consumers are now paying the price.

 Air district planners acknowledged their industrial rule-making slowed
 but said the region benefited from cleaner technology that industries
 installed under previous pollution orders.

 Denis Cuff covers water and the environment. Reach him at 925-943-8257 or
 by e-mail at

Address of original story:
(c) 1998 Contra Costa Newspapers

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