Air Quality General

This Year, the Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District Celebrates its Silver Anniversary

By Ryan Orr, Community Relations & Education Supervisor, and Martial Haprov. Administrative Services, Community Relations

Over the last 25 years, MDAQMD has consistently strived to educate the com­munity on air-quality issues. For in­stance, in 2001 MDAQMD spawned the Mojave Environmental Educational Consortium, which has grown into one of the largest non-profits in the High Desert: and which provides environ­mental education to students and assis­tance to teachers.

MDAQMD employs a common sense, inclusive approach to the development of air quality management programs.

Led by Executive Director and Air Pol­lution Control Officer Brad Poiriez, the District boasts 40 full-time employees and encompasses more than 20,000 square miles. As the geographical sec­ond largest air district in the state, the state of Rhode Island could fit within the District’s boundaries 16 times without overlapping. District responsibilities include air monitoring, permitting, in­spections and community outreach, and education.

Despite its large coverage area, the district has fostered an atmosphere of healthy air quality throughout the Mo­jave Desert through its air quality educa­tion, pollution prevention and maintain­ing constant contact with stakeholders.

We aim to relate to regulated businesses in an approachable manner while per­forming our mandated responsibilities.

“We really focus on educating and in­forming our residents on air quality, protecting their health through air monitoring and support­ing lowering emissions,” said Poiriez. “We also fo­cus on building a coopera­tive relationship with lo­cal businesses, creating an atmosphere that promotes responsible and sustain­able economic growth in our communities.”

MDAQMD is committed to providing a welcoming environment to stakeholders currently residing in, or looking to re­locate into, the district, while protecting public health through pollution preven­tion initiatives. Our permit engineering department is the first stop for new busi­nesses. This is where business owners can apply for air quality permits and work closely with engineers to identify permit conditions and regulations appli­cable to their operations.

In today’s economic climate, regula­tory flexibility can mean the difference between success and failure for some businesses. Historically, California’s air quality regulations have garnered a reputation as being some of the most challenging in the nation. The Golden State is divided into 35 local air districts that are responsible for implement­ing these regulations that apply to per­mit engineering of air pollution. Each district enforces rules and regulations based on air pollution laws and imple­ments air quality programs required by state and federal mandates. Every air district in the state must show progress in reducing air pollution to meet state and federal air quality standards in order to preserve the environment and protect the health and safety of the general public.

To attain and maintain a healthful environment while supporting strong and sustainable economic growth.” — MDAQMD Mission Statement

Rather than focusing solely on punitive actions, the MDAQMD takes pride in recognizing businesses that set an example of environmental stewardship. During Pollution Prevention Week each September, the district confers its prestigious Exemplar Award on the best of our regulated community whose work in the area of air pollution prevention or control “raises the bar” for others. Year-round, our inspectors also seek out gas stations that exceed regulatory requirements, and these stations receive the Mojave Green Business Award.

Today, the agency holds 3,869 permits covering 588 companies with 1,203 fa­cilities, including 42 Title V facilities. Title V of the Clean Air Act requires major sources of air pollutants, and cer­tain other sources, to obtain and operate in compliance with an operating permit. Title V facilities include industries such as power generation, mining and cement plants. Sources with these “Title V per­mits” are required by the Act to certify compliance with the applicable require­ments of their permits at least annually.

We want to say thank you to the community for a successful 25 years and make it known that we are here to answer questions and help residents and the business community for the next 25 years and beyond.