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Air Quality committee finalizes plan

Overshadowed by continuing air stagnation warnings, the latest meeting of the Lake County Air Quality Advisory Committee occurred on Tuesday, Dec. 17.

Their final air quality improvement plan is expected to go before the Lakeview Town Council and Lake County Board of Commissioners for approval sometime in January.

During the meeting, the group of committee members discussed a few final edits to the plan which had been drafted throughout the latter part of the year.  Rachel Sakata of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality will be putting the plan in its final form for the County and Town to approve.

It was noted during the meeting that though the plan will be submitted to the US Environmental Protection Association, the group doesn’t necessarily ‘approve’ it.  Town and County-level governments are the ones responsible for approving and adopting it.

Two phases for the next year were also outlined during the meeting – an adoption and public awareness phase and an implementation and monitoring phase.

The year 2017 will be a check-in period to determine whether or not air quality is improving enough through the strategies implemented as part of the improvement plan.  If not, additional efforts may need to be undertaken.

Part of the plan already being taken care of is a memorandum of understanding between the Town of Lakeview, Lake County and the United States Forest Service.  This would limit burning by the Forest Service during days of poor air quality in Lakeview.

According to Town Mgr. Ray Simms, there is a public awareness campaign planned for next year.  The Town will also be sending out its next round of water bills with an informal survey for suggestions to improve local air quality, said Simms.

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