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Aggressive Air Quality Plan Approved for San Joaquin Valley

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Aired 4/19/09

The California Air Resources Board has approved what some are calling a controversial air quality plan for the San Joaquin Valley, from commuting to fireplaces. From Sacramento, Kelley Weiss reports.

The plan will require businesses to increase employee carpooling by up to 30% or face fines. And it will more than triple the number of days residents are restricted from using wood burning fireplaces, up to 35 days a year. 

Seyed Sadredin is the executive director of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. He says this plan could be picked up by other regions.

Sadredin: "As we do this it sets the standards for the rest of the state and the rest of the nation to copy, essentially, feasible measures that have been put in place in other places."  

Sadredin says the plan also requires companies to cut emissions from industrial boilers and dryers. He says it will cost businesses $20 billion over the next 15 years.

Cathy Reheis-Boyd of the Western States Petroleum Association says industry will pass those costs on. 

Reheis-Boyd: "It makes it even more difficult for the consumer in the future as the cost of energy rises to meet these air quality demands."

The San Joaquin Valley region is required to improve air quality standards by the year 2014.

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