Supreme Court Upholds Strict Air Standards in the Imperial Valley
August 1, 2004
In June the Supreme Court let stand a ruling from the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that orders the Bush administration to impose strict air pollution control measures in the Imperial Valley, rather than blame Mexico for the unhealthy air quality. Imperial County, a region with one of the highest rates of childhood asthma, has repeatedly violated federal health standards for particulate dust pollution over the past decade, with levels sometimes reaching more than double the maximum. The ruling will force mines, factories, agribusiness and developers to take measurable steps to lower the level of air pollution in the region. A timeline has not yet been set, but Sierra Club attorney Pat Gallagher says that the county needs to act quickly as “they are already long overdue.”
January 1, 2004
In October 2003, a federal appeals court ruled that the Bush Administration had falsely blamed Mexico for unhealthful air quality in the Imperial Valley and that the administration must impose more stringent control measures on the U.S. side of the border. The decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals targets soot and dust in a remote corner of California — southeast of Indio along an 80-mile shared border with Mexico. The Imperial Valley has some of the highest childhood asthma rates in the state and high levels of death from respiratory disease. The high levels of dust are undoubtedly a contributing factor. Yet it has fewer pollution controls than other communities with less-polluted air, like the Los Angeles Basin, the Coachella Valley or Phoenix. Until now, that is.
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