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September 17, 2010 > Air District passes groundbreaking plan to protect public health

Air District passes groundbreaking plan to protect public health

2010 Clean Air Plan to address multiple pollutants for the first time

Submitted By Aaron Richardson

The Bay Area Air District's Board of Directors adopted the 2010 Clean Air Plan, the first Bay Area plan to address multiple air pollutants in one comprehensive strategy for improving local air quality and protecting public health, on September 15, 2010.

"This plan will be a tremendous boost for air quality in the Bay Area," said Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the Air District, the regional agency chartered with protecting air quality in the Bay Area. "When we know better, we do better, and this plan takes into consideration the latest science and our improved understanding of the different air pollutants that foul the air in our region."

The 2010 Clean Air Plan reviews air quality progress to date in the Bay Area and for the first time adopts a multi-pollutant approach in addressing ozone, particulate matter, air toxics and greenhouse gas emission reductions in a single, integrated strategy. The primary objectives of the plan are to improve local and regional air quality, protect public health and minimize climate change impacts.

The Clean Air Plan identifies 55 measures for reducing pollution from industrial, commercial, residential and vehicular sources. The plan complies with California Clean Air Act requirements for reducing ozone concentrations, incorporating all feasible control measures, and reducing the transport of emissions to neighboring regions. The plan also serves as an update to the Bay Area 2005 Ozone Strategy.

Developed in association with the Air District's regional agency partners (the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the Association of Bay Area Governments and the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission), the plan also includes regional goals for reducing fine particulate matter exposure by 10 percent by 2015, diesel particulate matter exposure by 85 percent by 2020 and greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

Implementation of the proposed control measures in the plan will provide significant financial benefits to the region. The estimated value of these benefits, including reduced medical costs, increased life expectancy, energy savings and state and federal transportation investments, is on the order of $3 billion per year.

The 2010 Plan also evaluates progress in reducing the health impacts from air pollution in the Bay Area. Air quality-related premature deaths have declined by about 60 percent since 1990, and the overall cancer risk from toxic air pollution has declined by 70 percent during the same period. The improvement in air quality has extended average life expectancy in the Bay Area by approximately six months over the past two decades. Improved public health provides a multi-billion dollar economic dividend to the Bay Area each year.

For more information about the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, visit www.baaqmd.gov.

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