Chair of the Mono Board of Supervisors, Vikki Bauer, said she is “uncomfortable having an outside regional agency make decisions” for her constituents. The agency making her uncomfortable is the Great Basin Air Pollution Control District. Bauer and Supervisor Hap Hazard have voiced objections to APCD policies and posed the idea that Mono County form its own air quality district. This issue will come up at a January 28th APCD board meeting and Supervisor Bauer said the examination of the issues will take place slowly.
So far, no other local officials have publicly supported the demise of the APCD, and Board Chair Bauer made it clear there is no consensus of the Mono Board. She spoke for herself when she criticized APCD’s grading permit that she said costs 5 times as much as the county grading permit and duplicates the effort.
Bauer also criticized APCD Director Ted Schade for placement of a $200,000 grant program under a San Joaquin District. The money would replace diesel engines in agricultural equipment. Bauer said it appears Schade is not working to help Mono County. She also criticized Schade for bringing up the option to tack on an extra vehicle licenses fee to raise money for air pollution control. Ms. Bauer said she has not talked to Mr. Schade about these issues.
When asked about these concerns, Director Schade said that the grading fee was in place when he came to the district and that this is something that could be discussed. As for the diesel grant program, Schade said it’s a very burdensome program to run, the district had done it in the past and found few takers of the money. Schade said the money is still available but what is not used here will be used in San Joaquin where smog pollution originates and wafts
Into the Eastern Sierra.
The vehicle license fees of $2, $4 or $6, Schade said, are used by most air pollution districts to help raise funds to reduce or monitor pollution. He said he was just making the Board aware of it.
Bauer also has concerns that Schade might try to implement mitigation measures at Mono Lake like he has at the Owens Dry Lake. Schade assured that there are no such plans and that the rising lake level is designed to solve dust problems. He did say the district will continue to monitor Mono Lake which is the second highest source of PM10 dust pollution in the nation. The Owens Dry Lake is the largest source.