Cap-to-Cap: California sees more work ahead as focus turns to air quality

California

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Ozone levels in our region are trending downward, but they still aren’t hitting the federal standards California has been called to meet.

That is one of the topics on the table Thursday at the annual Capitol-to-Capitol program hosted by the Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.

A law banning gas lawn equipment, which was just signed in California, was pointed to in Thursday’s sessions as an example of the kind of bold action the rest of the country could consider.

Despite that being regarded as a win, there’s more work to be done.

“The air basin that includes Yolo County has not met federal air quality standards since 2013, that’s eight years and running. Bad air hurts,” said Don Saylor, who is on the Valley Clean Energy board of directors. “Studies have found that high childhood asthma incidents among children living near freeways without appropriate mitigations is becoming a serious issue for us. We know that our current environment is impacting health in our region based on the community health needs assessments done by our community health systems: Kaiser and Sutter.”

A region becomes harder to sell as a new place to do business or move to when health concerns like that are present, which is why those gathered for Cap-to-Cap were delving into the topic.

Healthy or acceptable standards for ozone and particulate matter will be revisited at the federal level next month. Those matters will get a new look after constraints put in place during the Trump administration.

“There were rules passed limiting the science,” said Miles Keogh, the executive director of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies. “There was suppression of technical and scientific integrity among the decision-making. There was a lot of questions about the validity of that process.”

FOX40’s Cap-to-Cap coverage closes out Friday, with Sen. Alex Padilla as he delivers the final program remarks to those participating.

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