State Rejects S.B.’s Air Pollution Plan

California’s Air Resources Board rejected part of a long-term plan to control traffic-generated air pollution adopted by the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG) last week, finding fault with a provision that gave county officials a de facto escape clause should their efforts fall short. The state board, however, accepted the county’s target of maintaining current emission levels between now and 2020. Initially, the SBCAG board—which includes all five county supervisors and elected representatives from the county’s eight cities—had endorsed plans that would have allowed a 6 percent increase in car-generated emissions by 2020 and another 4 percent increase by 2035. The vote fell largely along the north-south county divide, with North County representatives supporting the zero percent increase—with a proviso that they might fail—and their South County counterparts demanding more stringent reductions.

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