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APCD board tells top officer to get 'aggressive' on dunes enforcement

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After slapping the California Department of Parks and Recreation with a violation for failing to mitigate dust pollution at the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area, SLO County Air Pollution Control District Officer Larry Allen got the green light to continue strictly enforcing the body's dust regulations.

The APCD's board voted 6-2 at its June 21 meeting to support Allen in his "increasing, aggressive efforts" to enforce Rule 1001, a controversial dust mitigation regulation passed in 2011. The motion also expressed support for allowing APCD staff to provide technical information and reports to other regulatory bodies.

"Let [Allen] know that he has the support of the board to do what he needs to do," said SLO County 2nd District Supervisor and APCD board member Bruce Gibson, who called for the motion.

ENFORCE: SLO County Air Pollution Control District Officer Larry Allen got the green light to continue strictly enforcing the body's dust regulations on June 21. - PHOTO BY JAYSON MELLOM
  • PHOTO BY JAYSON MELLOM
  • ENFORCE: SLO County Air Pollution Control District Officer Larry Allen got the green light to continue strictly enforcing the body's dust regulations on June 21.

The vote to support Allen comes after he formally issued a violation of Rule 1001 against state parks June 12. In May, Allen sent a letter to state parks, warning the agency that it faced a possible violation because it failed to execute dust mitigation measures for the dunes' 2017 season.

Prior to the June 21 vote, the board heard from Mathew Fuzie, deputy director for state parks' Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Division (OHMVD). Fuzie said he could not discuss the alleged violation, but stated that he didn't have a problem with the board's directive to Allen.

"In my short experience with Larry, he's always been aggressive," said Fuzie, who's been in his position for about a year.

For some of the board members who supported the motion, their concerns were less about state parks and more about the board itself backing Allen up. Board member and SLO County 3rd District Supervisor Adam Hill indicated that Allen had been undercut and hampered by board members in the past.

"You can't put political handcuffs on [Allen] because you don't like what he is saying," Hill said.

SLO County 5th District Supervisor Debbie Arnold and Pismo Beach Mayor Ed Waage both voted against the motion. Waage said he was concerned that the board was overstepping its bounds as a legislative authority.

"I expect [Allen] to carry out his duties as assigned, but I think this motion goes too far," he said.

Arnold said she opposed the motion because she believed that conflict between the APCD and state parks had been "holding up the show" and preventing the two entities from making progress on the dunes' dust issue.

"Every time we get into this position when everybody's bucking heads, it puts us backwards," Arnold said.

The vote of support took place as Allen prepares to retire at the end of 2017. The county is currently recruiting for his replacement and is accepting applications until June 30.


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