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How Will Southern California Attain Stricter Air Quality Standards?

UCR to Host Conference on Stricter Air Quality Standards for Southern California

Academic, government and economic leaders will explore challenges the region faces in improving its air quality

(April 23, 2008)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — How Southern California tackles the daunting task of meeting stricter federal and state emissions standards and reducing greenhouse gases is the focus of an all-day conference hosted by UC Riverside’s Edward J. Blakely Center for Sustainable Suburban Development and the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG).

Clearing the Air: Issues and Strategies for Future Progress will be held on Thursday, May 22, from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Historic Mission Inn in downtown Riverside.

The conference will bring together academic, government, and economic leaders to examine the effects of emissions on health, address the challenges of meeting emissions standards to the goods movement industry, and explore potential solutions to future air quality issues.

Despite significant progress in the last 30 years, there is growing evidence that air pollutants in Southern California — including particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns (PM2.5) — are exposing Southern California residents to potentially serious health risks.

“There is overwhelming consensus that immediate attention needs to be taken to reduce greenhouse gases,” said Rick Burnham, assistant director of the Edward J. Blakely Center for Sustainable Suburban Development. “California has taken a leadership position to address global climate change with the promulgation of AB 32, legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in California. Future federal and state emission standards for reducing air pollutants will require extreme challenges and new approaches to air quality planning in Southern California.”

According to Mark Pisano, the former executive director of SCAG, Southern California’s current air quality management plan will not be able to meet these emission standards.

“Some of these standards need to be met in less than a decade,” said Pisano, who is one of the speakers at the conference. “Reaching these standards will require billions of dollars, new technologies and synergy among strategies.”

The conference’s keynote address, to be given by James Boyd, vice chairman of the California Energy Commission, will focus on “Energy and Air Quality: Building a Bridge to State Policy Objectives.”

Three conference panels will focus on: the effects of the region’s air quality on health; how future emission standards will affect the region’s burgeoning goods movement industry; and examining potential solutions and a timetable for meeting future emission standards.

The conference is recommended to anyone who plays a role in determining policy related to air quality and meeting emissions requirements, including elected officials, city, county and regional staff members, developers, community groups, academics, healthcare professionals, those in the transportation and trade industries, and interested citizens.

Registration for the conference costs $150 per person. Reporters interested in covering the conference can attend it at no charge, but must register by calling 951-827-4103 or 951-827-7830.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

A broadcast studio with fiber cable to the AT&T Hollywood hub is available for live or taped interviews. UCR also has ISDN for radio interviews. To learn more, call (951) UCR-NEWS.

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