To consolidate, disseminate, and gather information concerning the 710 expansion into our San Rafael neighborhood and into our surrounding neighborhoods. If you have an item that you would like posted on this blog, please e-mail the item to Peggy Drouet at pdrouet@earthlink.net

Friday, November 29, 2013

South Coast Air Quality Management District files petition over EPA rule


By Barrett Newkirk, November 18, 2013

CABAZON — The government agency responsible for controlling regional air pollution has asked a federal court to review a recent decision by the Environmental Protection Agency that it fears will worsen air quality in the Coachella Valley.

The EPA ruled in September that the Morongo Band of Mission Indians Reservation northwest of Palm Springs along Interstate 10 was allowed to welcome heavier-polluting developments before offset requirements take effect.

That’s prompted concerns that the strong winds moving through the San Gorgonio Pass could carry more harmful pollution to valley communities as more land on the reservation is developed.
The filing last week in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals by the South Coast Air Quality Management District followed a vote by the district’s government board Nov. 1 to take legal action against the EPA.

An AQMD attorney said following the board’s vote that the decision to file a lawsuit came from a concern that Indian reservations could become independent air districts and create “pollution hot spots” as higher- polluting sources move on to the land.

An EPA spokeswoman has said the agency does not comment on ongoing legal matters.

The EPA has said the change for the reservation was meant to reverse a mistake made a decade ago that put tougher standards on the reservation. A Morongo spokesman has said the tribe has no specific projects in mind for the reservation and that tribe sought a reversal of the EPA’s earlier decision because it went against its status as a sovereign nation.

The AQMD has until Jan. 31 to file briefs to the court. The EPA then has one month to respond.