Central Valley

Activists want to force action on air cleanup

Activists on Monday asked a judge to force federal officials to either approve or disapprove a San Joaquin Valley cleanup plan that was submitted almost four years ago.

The plan was approved by local and state air authorities, meaning the rules and pollution reductions are being enforced. But without a federal decision, no one can challenge the rules and hold air officials to their promises, said a lawyer for the activists.

The Association of Irritated Residents and the Natural Resources Defense Council filed the action against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The case is in U.S. District Court in San Francisco.

The activists want a decision concerning a Valley plan for the one-hour ozone standard, which was revoked in 2005. They also say the government has not acted on two other air plans -- one in the South Coast Air Basin and one state-level plan dating back to 2003.

A regional EPA official said he had not seen the complaint and could not comment.