Settlement in the works for Oceano Dunes case

Mar 27, 2014

A portion of the Oceano Dunes where the SVRA meets a protected zone.
Credit KCBX News

The San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District unanimously approved an agreement on Wednesday to settle a lawsuit concerning its Rule 1001 governing particulate matter generated at the Oceano Dunes.

The settlement, known as a consent decree, still needs to be approved by the Court of Appeal. Under the plan, the district would end its California State Parks permit requirement— part of Rule 1001 adopted in 2011—for the State Vehicular Recreation area. It's the primary point of contention in the lawsuit.

All other aspects of the Rule 1001 would remain intact under the agreement, according to the district.

Friends of the Oceano Dunes, an off-road enthusiast group connected to the suit, told KCBX via email on Thursday afternoon that they have "no comment at this time" regarding the consent decree. It's unclear how the group plans to move forward.

This agreement does not affect a separate lawsuit filed by the Mesa Community Alliance regarding the particulate matter. While members are happy the agreement keeps Rule 1001 intact, they worry it does nothing to reduce the air pollution to state standards.

"Even the much-touted current State Parks project is only designed to reduce levels to federal standards to keep the EPA at bay," said alliance spokesperson Arlene Versaw. "Unless and until State Parks mitigates the pollution to a level that eliminates the public health risks, these steps do not change anything about our lawsuit against State Parks and the County of San Luis Obispo."