Without reductions in current levels of existing pollution, new businesses won’t be able to locate here and dump their vile concoctions into the air. During a recent speech, the Idaho DEQ air quality czar said if businesses were forced to meet current air quality standards, they would likely go elsewhere because it costs too much to meet the standards required at present in the Treasure Valley.
The treasure Valley “airshed” runs roughly from Ontario to Mountain Home in an irregular pattern dictated by topography.
That means the dirty little secret is this: If the air isn’t cleaned up, we won’t be able to attract more business (and people with cars) which will pollute the air.
The Feds have lowered the allowable level of air pollution to 75 parts per billion from the previous level of 85. Big offender is ozone–caused by heat and a chemical cocktail of pollutants. If an area exceeds the limits it is classed as “non-attainment,” invoking a host of regulations, least of which are reduction in federal funds and increased regulation of GROWTH.
Auto emissions account for about half of the pollutants. We also get an unhealthy dose from construction and farm equipment as well as industry. As a DEQ speaker described it, “If you can smell it, it is a pollutant. She cited fumes from delivery trucks dumping gasoline into service station tanks as an example. Also any number of solvents and cleaners used for industrial purposes.
Since vehicles are the biggest offenders, it is only logical to target them for testing and compliance.
Currently laws and local governments have demonstrated a common in ability to get anything done.
Ada county wants to test biannually, but the dudes in the red van would see their incomes cut in half.
Canyon politicos want to “explore alternative methods” to reduce pollution. (Read that, “no emission tests for the 30,000 commuters.)
The GUARDIAN has long called for a simple law that says THOU SHALT NOT POLLUTE. Technology exists to sample moving vehicles–just like radar or laser speed detection. We just need to “write ’em up” regardless of where they come from or the age of their car. Easier said then done.
While science and scientists has a pretty good handle on causes and cures for much of our air pollution, politicians and developers see regulation only as an obstacle to GROWTH.
The result is an evolving system that merely SHIFTS pollutants from one source to another. The prime reason for recent concern about air pollution is that any business/industry wishing to locate in an area like ours will have to demonstrate they will not increase pollution.
In short, the regulations say, “We will allow pollution at a certain level. If you want to come to our area and pollute, you have to reduce existing pollution to make room for your new pollution.” In the true spirit of American business, they have found a method of selling “pollution rights” through something called “carbon credits.”
Those credits need to go to the several hundred thousand motorists who keep their cars in compliance so industry can have the luxury of growing and polluting.
Don’t look for that runny nose or scratchy throat to get better soon.
UPDATE TUESDAY PM–
Team Dave and the City Councilors have enacted an ordinance offering free parking for zero emission vehicles in Downtown Boise as of November 3. A photo op is planned for Thursday morning with the Parking Czar and electric vehicle owners at City Hall. The greenies will get their permits and display at least four cars qualifying for the zero emission perk.
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