As of Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Regarding the Daily Sun News editorial on Nov. 27: “Should we obey burning edict?”
Welcome to the Lower Yakima Valley, Mr. Harnack. After five years of Yakima Regional Clean Air Agency meetings, Sunnyside finally has an air monitor system in place that will tell us how much of our air pollution is wood smoke or “something else.”
For your information, Yakima Regional Clean Air Agency board meetings are the second Thursday of each month at 2 p.m. at Yakima City Hall.
Our lovely foothills keep the Yakima Upper Valley’s air separated from our air in the Lower Valley.
Past articles by John Fannin, “Mostly passing grades on dairies’ report cards,”11/12/13; “Air agency board sides against ban on manure spraying,” 8/12/13; “To burn or not to burn”- Daily Sun News, 01/5/2010. Plus Department of Ecology news release, 12/16/15, “Wallula feedlot fined $50,000 for air quality violations.” It is not new that we have burn ban or air quality issues here.
The HUGE concern, is ambient air in the summer months from concentrated animal feeding operations.
The Yakima Regional Clean Air Agency is working with owners of our concentrated animal feeding operations to try to find a way to manage this issue. The Department of Ecology is currently studying the health effects, such as asthma, on our children from the air quality here.
The Yakima Regional Clean Air Agency? It’s been slow in getting down here, but burn bans and dairy score cards are what they can do right now. The rest is waiting on the data from our air monitor and working with dairy and beef feedlot owners.
We had to start somewhere, and finally the clean air agency and a few local citizens are fighting for our rights to have clean air to breathe in the Lower Yakima Valley.
Be patient, but be informed as well.
Kathleen Rogers, Grandview