The Valley Air District is asking the federal government to do more to help clean up the air in Central California.
The district has submitted a petition to the U.S. EPA asking the agency to adopt more stringent national standards for cleaner trucks and trains.
The district’s executive director Seyed Sadredin says despite on-going local efforts to reduce ozone and particulate pollution, meeting the newest federal health standards would require reducing fossil fuel emissions by another 90 percent. And that he says isn’t something the district can’t do alone.
Sadredin: “To really get any meaningful reductions in emissions to come close to meeting these federal standards, we need to reduce pollution from these large source categories, trucks and locomotives and unfortunately the only agency that can really do that is the federal EPA.”
Sadredin says if the district doesn’t meet the standard, it could result in a cap on business expansion and a loss of federal highway funds.
Sadredin: “It is virtually impossible for us to meet the new standard if the EPA does not do these two things. These two source categories, the trucks and locomotives, make up about 65 percent of the total pollution in the San Joaquin Valley.”
Critics from environmental groups have raised questions about whether it truly is impossible to meet the standard, and say the district isn't doing enough. They point to other countries where driving has been banned on certain days to improve air quality. Sadredin says even those measures wouldn’t be enough and would be impractical.
It’s unclear when the EPA will respond to the district’s petition.