From the monthly archives: July 2012
The Imperial County Air Pollution Control District (Air District), together with the California Department of Parks and Recreation (Parks), have entered into a settlement agreement with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that will resolve the Air District’s and Parks’ pending litigation in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  The Air District and Parks had challenged EPA’s July 8, 2010 limited disapproval of the Air District’s Regulation VIII fugitive dust rules.  The settlement creates a framework for the Air District and EPA to approve agreed upon revisions to the Regulation VIII rules, and to have the rules recognized as satisfying best available control measure (BACM) standards.  The settlement is subject to public notice and comment in order to become final and effective.
The path forward provided by the settlement is intended to result in modified rules that will provide certainty for the regulated community, and meet EPA’s expectations for clarity and enforceability.
This settlement resolves disagreements between the agencies dating back several years. On September 3, 2010, the Air District filed a petition with the Ninth Circuit for review of EPA’s July 8, 2010 limited disapproval of the Air District’s Regulation VIII fugitive dust rules.  The petition sought to vacate EPA’s disapproval of the rules, and reverse EPA’s rejection of the Air District’s demonstration that certain exceedances of ambient dust standards in the County in 2006 and 2007 were caused by natural high wind events.  After hearing oral argument from the parties on February 15, 2012, the Ninth Circuit ordered the parties to mediation to determine if the matter could be resolved before the Court issued a decision on the petition.
The mediation took place before Ninth Circuit Judge Leavey, and involved multiple sessions over several months.  The settlement sets out a path for EPA review and approval of a revised set of Regulation VIII dust control rules that the Air District will release for public review and comment in the next few weeks.  Once formally adopted by the Air District, the rules will be forwarded to the California Air Resources Board (ARB) for approval, and then to EPA for final approval and incorporation into the California state implementation plan (SIP).  Approval of the rules by EPA is necessary to avoid sanctions under the Clean Air Act, including potential loss of highway funds.
“We are pleased that the District and EPA were able to agree to a path forward that will recognize the Regulation VIII rules as best available control measures, or BACM,” said Air Pollution Control Officer Brad Poiriez.  “The existing Regulation VIII rules were the result of exhaustive efforts from the public, stakeholders, the agricultural community, the District, ARB, EPA and a host of other agencies and community organizations to adopt some of the most protective dust controls anywhere in the country.  We look forward to making the agreed upon modifications to these rules and, ultimately, adoption of the rules into our SIP, while recognizing the unique challenges in our air basin; particularly the impacts of the undeveloped desert land and high-wind dust emissions that are beyond our ability to control.”
Background on Regulation VIII
The Regulation VIII rules, adopted in 2005, impose stringent requirements designed to reduce the amount of fine particulate matter (PM-10) entrained in the ambient air as a result of emissions generated from anthropogenic, or man-made, fugitive dust sources within Imperial County.  These sources include certain agricultural, construction, recreational off-highway vehicle and unpaved road sources.
The combination of an extremely dry climate, vast areas of undeveloped desert land, and occasional high winds in Imperial County led to a few instances in 2006 and 2007 when local monitors measured PM-10 levels above the national dust standard.   The District notes that even with these natural challenges, 95% of the PM-10 measurements were below 2/3 of the national standard, and 70% were below 1/3 of the national standard.  In addition, dust caused by uncontrollable natural events such as wildfires and high winds may qualify as “exceptional events,” and may be excluded by EPA from the calculations  determining whether an air basin has attained national ambient air quality standards for PM-10.
The Regulation VIII rules were submitted for EPA approval into SIP on June 16, 2006.  Subsequent Air District submittals to EPA documented the few days in 2006 and 2007 when exceedances were caused by natural events.  In July 2010, EPA disapproved the Regulation VIII rules, based in part on its rejection of the Air District’s and ARB’s finding that the 2006 and 2007 exceedances were caused by uncontrollable natural high winds.
Through the settlement, the parties have agreed on revisions to Regulation VIII rules designed to meet or exceed BACM-level controls for significant anthropogenic, or human-caused, sources of emissions.  “The final Regulation VIII rules will be among the most stringent dust controls anywhere, and take some of the toughest measures found in neighboring air districts in Arizona and California,” Poiriez said.  “These measures reflect our ongoing effort to make sure that any significant human-caused dust sources do not prevent us from meeting our goal of attainment with the national ambient air quality standards.”
If any member of the public has any questions regarding the appeal, please call Mike Rood, County Counsel at 760.482.4400.
 

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT
July 31, 2012
155 S. 11th Street
El Centro, CA
92243
Tel: (760) 482-4462
Fax: (760) 352-1272
The following roads are closed due to yesterday’s storm event:
Evan Hewes Highway from Dunaway Road to Westside Road
Dunaway Road from Interstate 8 to Evan Hewes Highway
Imler/Huff Road from Forrester Road to Evan Hewes Highway
Ogilby Road from Highway 78 to Interstate 8
Milpitas Wash Road in Palo Verde
Walter’s Camp Road in Palo Verde
Rutherford Road from Hovley Road to Brandt Road
Respectfully,
William S. Brunet, PE
Director of Public Works

 

By Mario Conde

Republican Michael Crimmins will challenge State Senator Juan Vargas this fall for the vacated seat in the newly redrawn 51st Congressional District.

Crimmins was able to secure a second place finish in the congressional primary race to advance to the November runoff. Crimmins retired from the active duty Marine Corps following a twenty-one year career that spanned Vietnam through the completion of Operation Desert Storm in Iraq. He trained initially as an artillery officer and later was designated a naval flight officer being assigned to various A-6E Intruder squadrons.

After returning to graduate school and earning two Masters Degrees in education, he taught in San Diego City Schools and then became a nonpublic high school principal. Crimmins said that he brings a pragmatic and commonsense approach to politics with the ability to solve problems.

One of his goals is to have more security along the U.S./Mexico Border since he says it is an important national security issue post September 11. Along with that Crimmins says he will push for a tamper proof US produced ID card / working permit for Mexican workers that wish to work here. He proposes to have the ID card along with a mandatory e-verify program in effect in order to identify and track those who are coming to work legally in the United States. He added that this mechanism will also have a separate database that maintains the worker’s DNA and retina scan identification information.

“We need to protect our borders and prevent terrorists from coming here and destroying our way of life.” Crimmins said.

Crimmins also stressed the importance of having a good bilateral cooperation with Mexico. He said that if elected he will work to reopen Amistad Park in San Diego and have it as a pedestrian park so that people from both sides of the border can enjoy the new amenities that will be installed there. Crimmins said that this will allow people to avoid waiting in two hour plus traffic lines at the San Diego Port of Entry and said that something similar could be implemented as well here in Calexico. The Candidate stated that he has already spoken to the highest levels of the incoming PRI party that will take over the Presidency of Mexico in December and said that they like and support his ideas.

When asked how he would solve the high unemployment rate in the County, he said that he will promote to have more department of defense jobs/military jobs come to the Imperial Valley. Crimmins mentioned how the Department of Defense brings close to $30 billion a year to San Diego County and having more military jobs in the valley will bring a noticeable boost to the local economy.

Crimmins also wants to solve the water problems of the Imperial Valley and believes that a   continuous reliable supply of fresh water is critical to sustain both the agriculture and the cattle industries of the Imperial Valley.

 

“I propose building a desalination plant powered by alternative fuel sources and backed up with clean burning coal generation plants in northwest Mexico on the Sea of Cortez.” Crimmins said and added, “Then, together in a joint US and Mexico partnership, a pipeline would be built bringing a percentage, as of yet to be determined, of the fresh water to meet the needs generated in the Imperial Valley and its environs.”

Crimmins mentioned that the reason he is running for congress is because he’s passionate about promoting the American Dream and is concerned about the direction the Country is headed in.

 

“I’m a believer in American values; we can do a lot better with the right leader who has a proven record of accomplishments with the ability to put America and her citizens first.” Crimmins said.

 

 

FLASH FLOOD WATCH IN EFFECT UNTIL MIDNIGHT MST /MIDNIGHT PDT/ TONIGHT…

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN PHOENIX HAS ISSUED A

* FLASH FLOOD WATCH FOR PORTIONS OF ARIZONA AND CALIFORNIA… INCLUDING THE FOLLOWING AREAS… IN ARIZONA… LOWER COLORADO RIVER VALLEY AZ… SOUTHWEST DESERTS… WEST CENTRAL DESERTS AND YUMA/MARTINEZ LAKE AND VICINITY. IN CALIFORNIA… IMPERIAL COUNTY… JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK… LOWER COLORADO RIVER VALLEY CA AND RIVERSIDE COUNTY/EASTERN DESERTS.

* UNTIL MIDNIGHT MST /MIDNIGHT PDT/ TONIGHT

* A NEARLY STATIONARY UPPER AIR DISTURBANCE WILL INTERACT WITH A VERY MOIST AND MODERATELY UNSTABLE AIR MASS TO GENERATE NUMEROUS SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS THIS AFTERNOON AND EVENING. LOCALLY HEAVY RAIN… ENOUGH TO CAUSE FLOODING… WILL BE POSSIBLE.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A FLASH FLOOD WATCH MEANS THAT FLOODING OF WASHES… CREEKS AND OTHER DRAINAGE AREAS IS POSSIBLE WITHIN THE WATCH AREA. IF YOU ARE IN THE WATCH AREA… YOU SHOULD WATCH THE WEATHER AND BE PREPARED TO TAKE IMMEDIATE ACTION SHOULD HEAVY RAIN AND FLOODING OCCUR OR A FLASH FLOOD WARNING BE ISSUED.

&&

STAY UP-TO-DATE ON THE LATEST FORECASTS BY LISTENING TO WEATHER RADIO ON THE PUBLIC SERVICE BAND. MORE DETAILED INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE FROM THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN PHOENIX ON THE INTERNET AT

More Information

… LOCALLY HEAVY RAIN THIS AFTERNOON AND EVENING…

.A WEATHER DISTURBANCE OVER THE LOWER COLORADO RIVER VALLEY WILL INTERACT WITH A VERY MOIST AND UNSTABLE ATMOSPHERE TO TRIGGER SLOW MOVING SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS. SOME STORMS WILL PRODUCE LOCALLY HEAVY RAIN… WHICH MAY RESULT IN FLOODED ROADWAYS AND WASHES.

 

An onion recall from a Southern California grower and food processing firm has led to a cascade of subsequent recalls spanning multiple products and states.

Gills Onions LLC initially issued a voluntary recall of a single day’s production of onions on July 18 due to possible listeria monocytogenes contamination.

The list of recalled items was expanded July 26 to include diced, slivered and whole-peeled onions and diced onion and celery mix with use-by dates on or before Aug. 3, which were shipped to multiple states including California, Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Montana, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah and Washington.

Following the expanded recall, a number of products containing the onions as an ingredient have also been recalled.  The list of recalled products includes:

Various Whole Foods Market prepared foods in Florida

Trader Joe’s salsa, balela and barbecue chicken salad in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Southern region of Virginia

Cool Creations, LLC bean dips and salsas in Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma

Various Wegman’s prepared foods at three Pennsylvania stores

Various GH Foods CA, LLC, products in California, Arizona, Nevada and Utah

Listeria is an organism that can cause serious or fatal infections in children, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems. Otherwise healthy people may suffer symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea.  No illnesses have yet been linked to the recent recalls.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 
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