Is Air District using bad data?
Posted on January 4, 2018 by Sonoma Valley Sun
The Air District has registered 15 to 20 points above average this season than it had in previous years for all areas of the Bay Area. At first, it appeared that they had not cleaned their single Napa County sensor and that appears indeed to be the case. They know that a dirty sensor will allow them to declare Spare-the-Air days more often and their goal is to ultimately ban all wood-burning, all year long. No one seems to know whether they have chosen not to clean these sensors or if they have simply not gotten around to it.
The second point is that it also appears that they have changed their trigger calculations to declare no-burn days more frequently. However, it is my understanding that they did this without reporting it to their own Board of Directors nor did they announce it to anyone, including the public and the media. This means that none of this is based on science or on actual air pollution but, rather, on bureaucratic decisions. I propose this as an investigative reporting subject—I truly hope that some investigative reporters will take this on and expose the Air District’s falsehoods and, ultimately, how this benefits their own pockets by increasing the value of their PG&E stock.
The Air Quality Index (AQI) for January 3, 2018, for the North Counties (based primarily on the single Napa County sensor) went from 78 to 110 in a matter of 3 hours—that’s a 32 point increase which, statistically, means one of those things: either the AQI numbers are fabricated or then the Air District is incompetent. They had previously stated that air quality analysis is very difficult to which a rational person would respond that they are not competent and, therefore, should not be doing it. The reality is that the numbers are fabricated. The vast majority of Spare-the-Air days this season have shown an AQI of 102 for the North County—just enough to get it over 100. Again, a rational person would clearly see that these are not based on science but, rather, bureaucracy.
A bit of history—the single Napa County sensor accounts for over 80% Spare-the-Air days for all of the Bay Area. The sensor is currently located—illegally—over a bakery and in a small mall that includes a barbecue restaurant, a nail salon, and a bake shop, in the city of Napa. By the rules of both the Air District and the EPA, these sensors must be placed in residential areas but this one is not. After it was reported to the EPA several ago that the Air District had lied to them about this sensor, they announced that it would be moved. It has not. Furthermore, they announced that it would be moved to the Napa Valley College, next door to a 900+ home development which, again, makes it an illegal location. A complaint regarding this has already been filed with the EPA and additional complaints will be filed with the State of California, the Public Utilities Commission, and the California Air Resources Board. We must simply not allow these sorts of lies to remain unchecked.
Thank you, in advance, for helping investigate this out-of-control “Special District” which, ultimately, is focused on raising income to pay for its guaranteed pay raises and guaranteed employee promotions. If there is one thing we have learned from the Trump administration it is to follow the money.
Robert Morey, Napa