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Draft PM Advance air quality plan will be out next month

Officials with the state’s Department of Environmental Quality met with Town and County officials this last week to discuss the latest regarding a draft PM Advance plan that is due out next month.

The plan, compiled by a local committee that solicited public input during a series of recent town hall meetings, details strategies to bring Lakeview’s air quality into compliance with federally-mandated standards.

While not yet formally designated an area of non-attainment in not meeting particulate matter emissions standards, the committee is working toward developing an action plan to manage local air quality so that this designation is not issued by the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

Known as the PM Advance program, this plan affords a five-year period for the issue to be addressed locally.

Oregon Department of Air Quality Eastern Region representative Larry Calkins and Rachel Sakata, a DEQ air quality planner with the agency’s Portland office, updated local officials at both meetings.

Sakata said that the Town and County will need to take action in adopting the PM Advance plan in June to afford ample time for implementation of strategies prior to the next woodstove heating season.

Strategies and priorities for air quality management discussed at a recent series of public town hall meetings were developed with a goal of reducing Lakeview’s concentration of PM 2.5 particulate matter emissions.

The committee seeks to reduce the baseline high reported in 2011 at 47 micrograms per cubic meter of air, by a factor of 15 micrograms per cubic meter down to 32 micrograms per cubic meter by 2019.

The federal standard is at 35 micrograms per cubic meter of air, and Sakata said 32 micrograms per cubic meter serves to afford a ‘buffer zone’ for attainment.

Commissioner Ken Kestner noted the strategies represent a combination of the Town of Lakeview as well as the urban growth boundary area.

The first priority for addressing the air quality issue is health-related concerns for children and the elderly, which are the two most sensitive demographics for respiratory health issues.

Kestner also noted the potential for economic impacts should formal non-attainment designation be imposed. Further economic depression could occur if local industry should face additionally stringent air-quality permit requirements, and economic issues can lead to more health issues within the community.

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