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San Joaquin Valley Air District Suit Settled

In July 2001, the Medical Alliance for Healthy Air, the Latino Issues Forum, and the Sierra Club announced that they would sue the San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District to force the agency to implement measures to clean up the region's air. San Joaquin Valley has recently ascended to third place on the "most polluted" index, trailing only Los Angeles and Houston.

The community and medical groups were poised to sue the air district to compel it to adopt and enforce six ozone pollution control measures. The air district had promised to enact these measures to reduce ozone pollution by 6.5 tons per day by 1998, but it never took action on any of these measures. A proposed court order now binds the air district to adopt four of these rules -- regulating architectural coatings, organic liquid storage, and organic solvent disposal, and commercial charbroiling -- by the end of 2003. It also requires the air district to replace the other two rules with new, more effective pollution-control measures within six months. The settlement was lodged with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California in Fresno and requires Court approval before it becomes final.