As Commissioner Linthicum laid out in his excellent four part series on Air Quality in Klamath County (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4), the method and the rationale used for the EPA's and DEQ's regulation on Klamath County air quality is ridiculous at best and indefensible at worst. Klamath County has one, yes, only one air monitoring station that supposedly represents air quality for the entire county. According to the U.S. Census from 2010, Klamath County covers 5,941.05 square miles. On the other hand the state of Rhode Island covers 1,033.81 square miles. So for the math impaired, Klamath County is almost 6x as large in land mass as Rhode Island. Now guess how many air quality stations are set up in Rhode Island? One? Nope. Two? No. Four, Nodda. There are seven, yes, seven air quality stations in Rhode Island for an area that is 1/6th the size of Klamath County. Hmmmm. Seems backwards wouldn't you say? Welcome to Government Think.
Now let's add to our discussion the fire in Lake County during the past four-five days. What if everyone in Klamath County had a wood stove and burned it for 24 hours a day for 12 weeks straight? I can guarantee that Klamath County wouldn't come close to the amount of pollution created by the Lake County fire. And yet, the EPA and DEQ will fine Klamath County for violating their "air quality standards" due to industrial or wood stove pollution. What? Yeah. More Government Think.
A more serious question is who the Klamath County Commissioners can hold responsible if the EPA/DEQ takes a reading of Klamath County's (from the one, single station we have to represent the entire county) and finds that Klamath County air quality standards are above their mark? If Klamath County can be fined by the EPA/DEQ for poor air quality due to a fire in a neighboring county, can Klamath County sue Lake County? Can Klamath County sue the U.S. Forest Service for an inadequate job of managing the forests (why else would this fire be out of control) and isn't that who's land is burning anyways?
Meeting artificial air quality standards is an insane game that can logically be played and in the end benefits no one — well no one except the bureaucrats in D.C. and Salem. Really, how many deaths have there been in Klamath County due to air quality issues since the Lake County fires broke out and covered our skies last Thursday? Zero you say? Hmmmm. Wonder what the Federal and State Regulators are trying to save us from? Oh, nothing. I forgot: Government Think.
Power to the people? No way. Power to the bureaucrats.