Grover Beach City Council members said Monday that public health is a top priority but they could not support plans to force the State Parks Department to reduce the amount of dust blowing off Oceano Dunes.
The council specifically said it wants the San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District to eliminate the portion of a proposed rule that could subject Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area to fines of up to $1,000 a day.
Council members also said they hope the 12-member air board could unanimously agree on the program and tools used to reduce dust blowing from the off-road vehicle portion of the park.
The proposed rule could subject the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area to fines and other enforcement if the dust blowing off the coastal park is not reduced in coming years.
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The new regulations will be discussed at the board’s Nov. 16 meeting. The Grover Beach council indicated it would like the hearing to be continued to some future date.
A scientific study released last year showed a link between all-terrain vehicle riding at the state park and unhealthy levels of particulate pollution — microscopic bits of dust and other airborne substances — downwind on the Nipomo Mesa.
Questions about the study’s validity were raised soon after it was released last year.
Larry Allen, county air pollution control officer, has stressed that the air district is not trying to shut down Oceano Dunes.
Grover Beach council member Karen Bright sits on the air board, which is composed of all five county supervisors and a representative from each of the county’s seven cities.
In recent weeks, the Pismo Beach City Council and the Oceano Community Services District board have approved sending letters to the air district raising concerns or opposition to the proposed rule.