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Manteca must clean air

City working on greenhouse gas reduction plan

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POSTED October 19, 2012 12:59 a.m.

Manteca is working on a strategy to reduce greenhouse emissions that include carbon dioxide, methane gas, nitrous oxide, and hydrofluorcarbons.

It is in response to the state mandated Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 that requires municipalities to target greenhouse emissions and reduce them back to 1990 levels.

Critics contend the law will substantially increase the cost of doing business in California and will chase jobs out of state.

That is in addition to new federal Environmental Protection Agency mandates to further reduce emissions in the San Joaquin Valley by nearly 90 percent. The state greenhouse mandate includes all of California while the new federal EPA standards are just for the San Joaquin Valley.

San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District representatives told the council in August that what the EPA is seeking is essentially impossible to attain.

Potential sanctions for failing to meet new federal air standards include banning new businesses from opening and preventing the expansion of existing businesses, losing all federal highway and federal takeover of the air quality control district.

Population in the valley has almost doubled since 1980 while emissions have been slashed by more than 50 percent.

The San Joaquin Valley during the past 10 years has:

• reduced emission from stationary sources by 83 percent.

• scored an 83 percent reduction in unhealthy days.

• recorded the cleanest winter on record in 2010 with only two unhealthy days.

• enjoyed the cleanest summer on record with over a 50 percent reduction in the number of times ozone levels exceeded standards by 8 hours or more.

The valley averages 625 tons of nitrogen oxides being released in the air on any given day. The new standard is to get it to 80 tons a day or less.

Heavy duty trucks account for about 250 tons daily. Passenger vehicles and off-road equipment each account for about 80 tons while off-road equipment is about another 70 tons. Other off-road sources such as trains account for around 30 tons. The balances - or nearly 120 tons - are from stationary and area sources that the district has control over establishing rules. Mobile sources generate 500 tons a day and are under state and federal regulations.

 The abolishment of redevelopment agencies has delayed the city’s work on a plan to comply with the state-mandate to devise strategies to reduce greenhouse gases.

The RDA had been used to fund the Community Development Department staff. At the same time, a loss of general fund revenue prompted the city out of necessity to shift more of the work to staff instead of relying extensively on an outside consultant. That means the air quality update required by the state for the general plan as well as Manteca’s Climate Action Plan will be delayed for a year.

The first public review of the city’s greenhouse gas strategy is expected to take place in January.

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