Opinion » Letters

SLO County has the power to stop dust pollution

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The air downwind from the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area has been especially awful during this season. Yet, state park’s Off Highway Vehicles Division has completely halted all work for this season’s agreed-upon mitigations. Nothing has been accomplished except a bit of fence. The fierce winds pick up everything. While Mesa and Oceano community residents breath more PM10 (particulate matter) than they are allowed to by state and federal standards, the California Coastal Commission, state parks, and the Air Pollution Control District (APCD) play bureaucratic games.

A private business would never be allowed such noncompliance. Furthermore, those who call themselves Friends of Oceano Dunes delivered yet a new lawsuit against the Coastal Commission a few days ago. Friends is an off-road interest group recruiting members mostly from the Valley. By riding on the sands of La Grande Tract (Oceano Dunes), its members contribute to the production of the PM10 that is choking Mesa and Oceano community residents. The numerous, inconsistent, and harassing suits they have brought against our local government cost us dear time and money and are aimed solely at slowing down any effective action.

Our local coastal plan gives our county supervisors the power to stop all this nonsense. Why don’t they? Are they waiting for somebody to die of PM10 saturation? We need the issuance of a Notice of Violation against state parks immediately, penalties, and possibly a shutdown of operations.

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