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Plan to cleanse air isn't moving fast enough, activists say

Although a plan to cleanse the Valley’s harmful fine-particle pollution is moving along, clean air activists say the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District is dragging its feet.

The district recently released the second draft of a plan to address the Valley’s problems with PM 2.5 particles, which can aggravate asthma and contribute to heart disease. This draft is different than its original because it provides a more complete model to predict when the Valley can meet clean air standards for particulate matter, said Don Hunsaker, plan development supervisor for the air district.

The year 2014 is the earliest it can meet standards.

And that just isn’t good enough, clean air activists announced at a press conference Wednesday. Representatives from the Central Valley Air Quality Coalition, the Merced-based MOMS Clean Air Network, Coalition for Clean Air, Earthjustice and the International Sustainable Systems Research Center insisted the district is ignoring opportunities to further reduce emissions by an earlier date.

“The air district is once again dragging its feet,” said Liza Bolanos of the Air Quality Coalition. “It’s accepting failure too early.”