People with opinions on air quality, whether on fireplace restrictions or health concerns, can submit comments by Tuesday to the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.
Input will be considered by the district's governing board Dec. 20, when members weigh a proposal addressing particulate matter, or PM-2.5. The wintertime pollutant, made worse by smoke, vehicle fumes and other sources, causes breathing problems and premature death.
The district staff is proposing an array of rules affecting farmers, restaurants, road work and commuters. The most controversial would sharply increase the number of valley no-burn days, when it's illegal to use fireplaces, wood stoves, pellet stoves and more.
Public comment has ranged from people urging burning bans every day to those who rely on fires for inexpensive warmth. Some exemptions are granted to people who have no options.
If the governing board embraces the strategy Dec. 20, more stringent regulations could go into effect in 2017, according to a proposed time line. No-burn days in Stanislaus County, averaging 36 each winter, could more than double.
Comments can be submitted by 5 p.m. Tuesday to email@example.com or by calling (559) 230-5800. The Dec. 20 hearing is expected to be held at 1990 E. Gettysburg Ave., Fresno, with a local teleconference link at 4800 Enterprise Way, Modesto.
On the Net: www.valleyair.org/Air_Quality_Plans/PM25Plans2012.htm#latestPMDocument.
Bee staff writer Garth Stapley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2390.
The San Joaquin Valley suffers far worse air pollution than anywhere else in the United States, according to a Forbes list released last week. Modesto and Merced ranked sixth and seventh for cities with the dirtiest air in the nation, on Forbes' list of America's Worst Cities for Your Lungs. Mountains around the valley trap smog and soot, worsening ozone in the summer and particulate matter in the winter. Twelve of the 50 cities with the worst air are in California, despite some of the nation's strictest rules, among 277 on the list. Here's a look at the top 10:
2. Los Angeles
On the Net: www.forbes.com/pictures/eddf45imgk/no-1-bakersfield-delano-ca.