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Air Quality Management District Decisions to Impact Coachella Valley

The board will consider using nearly $200,000 to establish a hydrogen sulfide monitoring network near the Salton Sea., Last year odors from the area spread around Southern California.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District's governing board is scheduled to vote Friday on proposals relating to the Coachella Valley.

The AQMD board will consider proposals to replace and upgrade school buses at the Coachella Valley and Desert Sands school districts and to install hydrogen sulfide monitoring stations at the Salton Sea, according to Riverside County Supervisor John Benoit's office.

The board, responding to odors from the Salton Sea that spread around Southern California last September, will consider using nearly $200,000 to establish a hydrogen sulfide monitoring network near the sea. Two monitoring stations, proposed in Mecca and on Torres-Martinez tribal land, would evaluate sulfur-containing gases released from the area.

The AQMD has earmarked $2.4 million to replace eight Coachella Valley Unified School district diesel buses with compressed natural gas buses. If approved by the board, the money will also equip 49 Coachella Valley and two Desert Sands school district buses with particulate traps to reduce toxic diesel emissions.

The funding will come from the Carl Moyer Program AB 923 Fund, which uses smog abatement and tire fees to fund grants for clean engines, vehicles and equipment, according to Benoit's office.

The AQMD board will meet at 9 a.m. Friday in Diamond Bar. The agenda is posted at www.aqmd.gov.

Greg M January 04, 2013 at 01:33 AM
I think the AQMD might be a little confused in their priorities here. I don't think it makes sense to spend $200K on monitoring stations to tell us that there is an odor problem around the Salton Sea. Anyone who has smelled it can tell you its a problem for free. Why not take a logical step in a responsible direction, and apply the 2.4 million to the problems around the lake instead? Replacing busses seems like much less of an environmental issue than the toxicity of the Sea. And besides, if Coachella is like other school districts, it is only a matter of time before they eliminate the busses anyway.
beaumontdave January 04, 2013 at 02:35 AM
The EPA says the safe level for hydrogen sulfide is up to 10 ppm for a max. of 8 hours so theoretically peoples health could be affected at some point.
Linda Davis January 04, 2013 at 02:47 PM
I agree with Greg M. What good is monitoring - we already know it exists. Spend the funds on FIXING the problem.
ATC January 04, 2013 at 04:10 PM
It's nothing more than another "feel good" measure. Something that politicians can point at and say "See? We're doing something." even though it will accomplish absolutely nothing. I agree with Greg & Linda; stop spending money on "observing" the problem and start spending money on "fixing" the problem. How many millions have already been spent on Salton Sea "studies"?

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