(Victorville)- – A report just released by the California Air Pollution Control Officers Association found that the High Desert was one of 38 regions in the state with no unhealthy air quality days in 2011.
California’s Progress Toward Clean Air report details progress and challenges individually and collectively toward attaining federal health-based air quality standards statewide. The report contains statistical information, trends and programs within each air quality agency. This is the second year that the collaborative report between all 35 of the state’s air quality management districts has been released by the California Air Pollution Control Officers Association.
Among the report’s findings is that the Mojave Desert portion of San Bernardino County – which is
regulated by the MDAQMD – was one of only 38 county regions where no unhealthy air quality days
were measured in 2011. An unhealthy day occurs when air pollution levels fall between 151 and 200 on
the Air Quality Index, which is used for reporting daily air quality. During such days, everyone may
begin to experience some adverse health effects, and members of sensitive groups – such as people with
lung disease, older adults and children – may experience more serious effects. Unhealthy days normally
occur during Southern California’s traditional smog season from May through October.
“High Desert residents continue to breathe some of the most healthful air anywhere in Southern
California,” commented San Bernardino County First District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt, who serves as Chairman of the Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District. “Our continuous air quality improvements are a testament to the success of the MDAQMD’s efforts to balance a healthful environment with economic growth.”
The report also singled out the Mojave Desert as one of the few regions where no exceedances of the
federal PM2.5 standard (35 ug/m3) were measured in 2011. Sources of PM2.5 or “fine” particles include
all types of combustion, including motor vehicles, residential wood burning, forest fires, agricultural
burning, and some industrial processes.
California -the most populous state in the union – includes regions with pristine air quality as well as
regions with the nation’s most challenged air quality. According to Mitzelfelt, one of the most serious
challenges to local air quality has to do with onerous regulations – such as AB32, the Global Warming
Solutions Act – which threaten to drive more business out of the region and increase driving distances for
“The farther away High Desert residents have to commute for their livelihood, the more vehicle emissions
increase,” said Mitzelfelt. “If we are serious about protecting air quality – and our local economy – we
must have sensible regulations which encourage businesses to locate close to population centers, such as
the High Desert.”
According to Mitzelfelt, significant public and private investment in voluntary, incentive-based measures,
has contributed to widespread improvements to California’s air quality throughout the past 20 years.
However, involuntary measures in the form of stringent regulations can drive jobs to other states or
“MDAQMD seeks to promote jobs closer to where workers live, which is good for air quality,” Mitzelfelt
California’s Progress Toward Clean Air may be viewed at www.mdaqmd.ca.gov.