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Spare the Air Days rarely warranted by science

Posted on January 15, 2018 by Sonoma Valley Sun
Today’s Spare-the-Air is clearly not warranted.  Actually, any smart person would realize that the vast majority of no-burn days are declared because the Northern Counties, namely Napa County, have an Air Quality Index (AQI) of 102, just enough to be over 100.  It is clearly a bureaucratic decision made by an unimaginative clerk of the Air District—you would think that they would use 103 or 104 every once in a while.  But, now that they are under EPA audits, they use their monitoring equipment’s “margin of error” excuse.
The reality is that rarely is a Spare-the-Air warranted by science.  In fact, over 80% of the time, it is supposedly due to Napa County where the single sensor for the entire county is located literally on top of a Mexican bakery, in a strip mall, on one of the busiest streets in the city of Napa.
After the Air District lied to the EPA about this location, they were audited two years ago and ordered to move this sensor to a residential neighborhood, per both Air District and EPA rules.  Unfortunately, they have chosen to move it to the Napa Valley College which is a 100%-commuter school (surrounded by car emissions) and a few hundred yards downwind from Napa Pipe, a residential project that involves the construction of over 900 homes.
The point is that, without placing this single sensor in a very polluted and concentrated area, they would not be able to justify the millions of dollars they spend on Spare-the-Air.  In short, it’s all marketing based on false data.  No one who realizes that their car taxes, gasoline taxes, construction fees, and real estate taxes are going to fund an unnecessary program is happy about it.  The problem is that not everyone knows about this or they would be incensed.
– Robert Morey, Napa


3 thoughts on “Spare the Air Days rarely warranted by science

  1. Q: How much ‘funding’ does it cost when, on a particular day, humans stop burning crap and releasing carbon into the air? What does it cost to NOT burn a pile of vineyard brush? Or NOT have a fire in the fireplace? Answer: Not a dime.
    But whatever the cost, the solution to measuring pollutants is not to locate the measuring devices in places where they are least likely to detect pollution. That would be the IQ equivalent of monitoring the progress of the Thanksgiving turkey by sticking the meat thermometer up the ass of the squirrel across the street.

  2. If residents are not allowed to have fires in their fireplaces on these cold days, use of electric and gas heating goes up, and PG&E makes more money! That’s what I think is behind so many Spare the Air Days. Automobiles, agricultural burns, and manufacturing emissions contribute much more pollution than residential fireplaces. Monitor those specific sources.

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