Imported smog

By From page A4 | January 07, 2013

One of the stories from 2012 that was a continuing story for the last 25 years if not longer is high smog readings in El Dorado County. The reason, of course, is because of the smog that blows in from the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento County.

We are a victim of imported smog.

The EPA last year revealed that El Dorado County was not among the nine areas that met the 1997 smog standards.

The good news, however, according to El Dorado County Air Pollution Control Officer Dave Johnston, is that four out of five monitoring stations that recorded smog in this county are indicating decreasing smog levels since 1990. That trend leads Johnston to predict the county will meet national standards for ground-level ozone in 2018.

Of, course with four more years of President Obama don’t be surprised if his next EPA administrator moves the attainment bar higher out of reach for El Dorado County.

It should be noted that the decreasing smog levels coincide with the increased technical ability of automakers to produce low and ultra-low emission vehicles. Engine efficiency and catalytic converters have made car exhaust so clean that it is next to impossible to commit suicide by running the car in a closed garage.

Add to that the discontinuance of rice burning by Sacramento Valley farmers and the air is looking pretty good — good enough to see Mount Diablo nearly every day and see the Coast Range from Highway 50 in Cameron Park and Sutter Buttes from high points in Placerville and El Dorado Hills. On a good day Mt. Lassen is also visible.

The smog may be imported, but California’s emission standards have dramatically improved things over the last quarter century.

Mountain Democrat

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