The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District has decided to postpone a vote to voluntarily boost its ozone violation status.
District staff members advised the board not to approve the voluntary move. It would take the district from the current status of “severe” noncompliance for federal ozone standards to the heightened “extreme” category.
Air district officials are considering volunteering for the worst-offender category in order to gain additional time for attainment and to avoid penalties.
Los Angeles is the only place in the nation with severe noncompliance status for ozone.
Under the extreme status, the valley would have until 2010 to reduce ozone.
Ozone is the main ingredient in smog that can cause irritated eyes, coughing, wheezing and permanent lung damage in some cases.