air pollution

Allegations by the federal Environmental Protection Agency that California, and Ventura County have fallen down on efforts to improve air quality are drawing angry responses in the state. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler sent a letter to the State Air Resources Board this week, saying the since the 1970’s California failed to carry out the basic requirements of the Clean Air Act.

A South Coast agency is moving to cut down on air pollution by helping to pay for the replacement of some older diesel engines used by the agricultural and fishing industries. The Ventura County Air Pollution Control Board approved $4.4 million dollars in grants.

Gas powered leaf blowers are important time and labor saving tools for landscaping and maintenance crews. But, they are also major sources of air and noise pollution. Now, one Ventura County community is taking a cutting edge approach to the pollution problem.

A unique program to improve the safety of whales, and at the same time reduce air pollution along the California coast by getting ships to slow down is reporting new success.

The Protecting Blue Whales and Blue Skies program compensates shipping companies for voluntarily slowing the speed of their vessels to 12 knots or less in key coastal waters. The slower speeds reduce the chance of accidental whale strikes, and cut air pollution at the same time.

Ten cargo ship companies are taking part in a program to get cargo ships passing through the Santa Barbara Channel to slow down, with the dual incentives of reducing the chances of the ships striking whales and cutting air pollution.

The effort is building on a 2014 pilot program involving government agencies and foundations. The cargo ship companies receive financial compensation of $1500 to $2500 to slow their transits to 12 knots or less, with additional payments if they slow to 10 knots or less, and provide evidence they didn’t speed up elsewhere on their route.