The announcement by our valley air board of compliance with the one-hour ozone standard is bogus.
Their claim is based on three dubious and unprovable assumptions: One, that a couple violations in Fresno last year were caused by pollution from a fire at a refinery in the Bay Area. Two, that the Arvin Bear Mountain ozone monitor would not have had any violations the past three years. Three, that up to 20 percent of the ozone in Kern County is coming from Asia. The Environmental Protection Agency has to approve this claim, and they are not that stupid. There is still a lot of work to do before we will have healthy air to breathe. The $29 million fine is helping to do that work. We will no doubt have to pay it for a few more years.
The only unfortunate part is that the biggest polluters in the valley are not paying their fair share of the fine. The oil industry, for example, pollutes our air just as much as the motorists who are being asked to pay most of the fine.
We need strong action, honesty and fairness from our air board. False proclamations of success do nothing to improve the health of valley residents.