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CA Air Resources Board Stonewalls on CA Data, Yet Sues Pres. Trump Over Emissions Data

State agency ignoring public records requests

By Katy Grimes, April 9, 2019 5:53 am

Stockton, CA Certified Public Accountant Ned Leiba sits on the Citizen’s Advisory Committee of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.

Leiba has made formal written requests with the California Air Resources Board, asking for the data on CARB’s claims that 1,200 children die each year in the California Central Valley due to particulate matter in the air. So far, he says the CARB has ignored his California Public Records Requests.

“I was shocked to find the District does not have current studies showing the effect of Valley pollution on human health.  In fact, it appears CARB (California Air Resources Board) has used $60 million of District funds for “scientific studies” but its Valley Air Pollution Study Group was explicitly prohibited from conducting or funding any health studies. CARB claimed in a recent press release that the Valley suffered 1200 annual premature deaths from PM2.5, a pollutant subject to control by the District, yet CARB has failed to provide specific support for that claim,” Lieba wrote.

This is ironic since California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has filed yet another lawsuit against the Trump administration on behalf of the California Air Resources Board, claiming that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency failed to comply with CARB’s September 2018 Freedom of Information Act request, in relation to data the agencies used to justify rolling back landmark Obama-era vehicle emission standards.

CARB is seeking to force the two federal agencies to provide data they used, accusing the Trump administration of “willfully withholding” information.

Lieba said in an email to CARB he was shocked to find the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District does not have current studies showing the effect of Valley pollution on human health.  “In fact, it appears CARB has used $60 million of District funds for ‘scientific studies’ but its Valley Air Pollution Study Group was explicitly prohibited from conducting or funding any health studies. CARB claimed in a recent press release that the Valley suffered 1200 annual premature deaths from PM2.5, a pollutant subject to control by the District, yet CARB has failed to provide specific support for that claim.”

“The latest State Implementation Plan for the Valley entails a cost of $5 billion in incentives, plus substantially higher compliance costs to residents, businesses and governments.  Given the amount of the direct and indirect economic costs, the District should strive to implement and continue programs that most effectively improve public health in the Valley and hence the need for relevant health studies.”

“As part of The Plan, the District recited the remarkable progress in reducing air pollution over the last 30 years.”

“Emissions from stationary sources have been reduced by 85%, cancer risk from exposure to air pollutants has been reduced by 95%, population exposure to elevated PM2.5 levels have been reduced by 85%, and population exposure to elevated ozone levels have been reduced by 90%.”

“The District explained that it ‘tracks and sponsors health and PM2.5 research’ in original studies. The District stated the Plan was “based on strong scientific foundation and extensive air quality modeling.” It relied on studies sponsored by its San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Study Group.  The research had a cost of $60 million and it was aimed at developing methods to identify the ‘most efficient and cost-effective control strategies.’”

“In the thousands of pages of The Plan, I did not see fundamental studies that showed changes in health outcomes of Valley residents over the 30 years.”

“Accordingly, I requested that a representative of the Air Pollution Study Group make a presentation to the CAC.  At our February 5, 2019, CAC meeting, a representative of CARB did appear, made a long presentation, but said nothing about any health studies.  In response to my question about the absence of health studies, he said CARB had prohibited the Group from undertaking any health studies with its $60 million. That was a bombshell.”

“At the same meeting, I asked another representative of CARB for the source for their claim in a press release that PM2.5 pollution in the Valley caused 1200 premature deaths each year,” Lieba said. “The CARB representative did not know but promised a response.  That promise was made by the CARB representative at the February 5 meeting and again at the March 5 CAC meeting.  Lieba said he has not received a specific response, and worries there are no relevant health studies.”

Dubious CARB 

This is the same CARB which exempt itself from the state’s open meeting act, Government Code 11120, the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act, keeps moving the goal posts on achieving the goals of The Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which required the reduction of California’s greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. However, the CARB took it one step beyond, and instead adopted the United Nation’s goal: “To avert catastrophic warming, the world’s scientists have concluded we must reduce GHGs to 80 – 90% below 1990 levels by 2050.”

Mary Nichols, CARB Chairwoman (youtube)

And the same CARB which knew when the EPA conducted diesel exhaust experiments on children at UCLA and USC, as CARB Chairwoman Mary Nichols is a Professor in Residence at UCLA in the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, and has been for years. And Nichols was likely behind the firing of Dr. James E. Enstrom, PhD, MPH, FFACE, UCLA and Scientific Integrity Institute, who dared to disagree with the EPA’s and CARB’s determinations of carbon and diesel regulations. Enstrom charged scientifically the the EPA and CARB doctored scientific experiments to deceive the public and Congress in order to declare costly and controlling regulations – but he won his job back at UCLA after suing the university.

Lieba wrote:

“Hello Melanie Turner,

I am on the CAC of the SJVAPCD. I wanted to know the source of the following statement in your press release issued with approval of the PM2.5 SIP:

PM2.5 exposure is responsible for about 1,200 cases of premature death in the Valley each year.

I went through the District and CARB SIP material and did not find the basis for this statement.

Today at the CAC meeting I asked CARB representative Laura Carr for the source of the statement. She did not know.

Also, I was very surprised to hear from John DaMassa that the SJ Valley scientific Study Agency does not conduct any studies on health related issues and, accordingly, he did not seem to know the source of the statement.”

Lieba said he received a response from CARB but it lacked the ‘mortality incidence data’ he asked for.

The CARB is stonewalling Lieba, and he deserves answers.

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2 thoughts on “CA Air Resources Board Stonewalls on CA Data, Yet Sues Pres. Trump Over Emissions Data

  1. Unless I am wrong, isn’t Mary Nichols both the head of CARB AND a professor in Residence at UCLA? Does she collect full time paychecks at both jobs? Isn’t she also a retired state employee collecting a CalPERS pension?

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