Despite having the cleanest summer on record, the Valley violated the federal 1-hour ozone standard Thursday, resulting in a $29 million federal penalty, said Janelle Schneider, a spokeswoman for the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution District.
The penalty will lift in the future if each of the Valley's air basin monitoring stations do not exceed the ozone threshold of 125 parts per billion more than three times over the next three years.
"We are still in a position to see the $29 million federal penalty removed by 2013, one year sooner than initially anticipated," said Seyed Sadredin, executive director of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution District.
Even though this was the longest period the Valley had gone without exceeding the standard, Clovis exceeded the limit at the very end of the 2011 ozone season, Schneider said.
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Unusual high ozone spikes resulted from high pressure over the Valley and an upper low-pressure system in Southern California that shut down the normal northwesterly wind flow over eastern Fresno County.