By Violette Roberts, Community Relations & Education Manager
Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District
Brad Poiriez was appointed Executive Director of the Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District by the Victorville-based agency’s Governing Board on July 25, 2016. Poiriez is responsible for enforcing the MDAQMD’s rules and regulations, enforcing health and safety provisions and state programs, running the district’s day-to-day operations and supervising the MDAQMD’s 39 employees.
While Poiriez may be new to the MDAQMD, he is no stranger to air quality management, having served as Air Pollution Control Officer for the Imperial County Air Pollution Control District since 2008 and as an employee of the El Centro-based air district for over 22 years. Poiriez received his Bachelor of Science degree in Health Studies from Eastern Illinois University in 1990 and has worked in the environmental field for over 23 years. Prior to joining the ICAPCD, Poiriez was employed by the Peoria County Environmental Health Department in Peoria, Illinois.
Poiriez is the past U.S. co-chair of the Imperial Valley/Mexicali Region Air Quality Task Force for “Border 2012” and has worked extensively on the newly proposed “Border 2020” program. He was instrumental in getting industry representatives and the community involved and participating in developing methods to improve air quality in Imperial County. “Brad’s extensive knowledge of regional air quality issues, combined with his years of experience brokering common-sense, clean air solutions at the local and international level, make him an exceptional choice to lead the MDAQMD,” commented MDAQMD Governing Board Member/San Bernardino County First District Supervisor Robert Lovingood.
As the local air pollution control agency for San Bernardino County’s High Desert region and the Palo Verde Valley portion of Riverside County, the MDAQMD has primary responsibility for controlling emissions from stationary sources of air pollution within its 20,000-plus-square-mile jurisdiction, which is home to over 550,000 residents. Throughout its 24 year history, the MDAQMD has earned a reputation as one of the most business friendly air districts in California, whose cooperative working relationship with regulated industry has become a model for air districts across the state. Thus, it’s no coincidence that between 2010 and 2016, the number of permitted facilities located within the MDAQMD’s jurisdiction increased by 16%, from 966 to 1,122,
While new leadership often brings with it growth and change, Poiriez states that the district’s mission statement–“To attain and maintain a healthful environment while supporting strong and sustainable economic growth–will remain intact, and keeping the lines of communication open with constituents will continue to be a priority. “When businesses understand what is expected of them and we provide them with the tools to help them comply–whether these tools are in the form of compliance assistance, grants or just a friendly ear–we all benefit through increased business retention, enhanced economic development and improved air quality,” said Poiriez.
While the MDAQMD cannot directly create jobs because the severity of the air quality problem in the High Desert is much less than that in the greater Los Angeles area, the MDAQMD’s regulatory structure is less restrictive. This tends to encourage job relocation from more severely regulated areas (Los Angeles) to less severely regulated areas (such as the High Desert). Hence, regulatory flexibility is key to economic and environmental sustainability in the High Desert and is the foundation of the MDAQMD’s efforts.
Although it’s impossible to predict the ultimate trickle down effects of Washington’s new administration on local air districts, the MDAQMD plans to continue offering regulated business some of the lowest permitting and application fees found anywhere in California, as well as providing some of the most expedient permit-processing times. The MDAQMD will also continue to proactively promote the creation and recognition of emission reductions credits, which allows new sources to site in the High Desert. Generous grants will continue to be offered for local projects which reduce mobile source and diesel emissions thorough the MDAQMD’s AB 2766 and Moyer Grant programs. Regulated businesses which exceed regulatory requirements and reduce emissions for the benefit of local air quality will continue to be recognized through the District’s Mojave Green Gas Station Program and its annual Exemplar Awards. The MDAQMD will also continue to works closely with each applicant to cut through the red tape instead of creating an additional layer.
The MDAQMD is proud to exemplify California’s “final frontier” for businesses seeking to locate or remain in the Golden State. For more information, visit www.mdaqmd.ca.gov or call (760)245-1661 today.