Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

April 18, 2007


Host: Cary Pfeffer

Air Quality


  • The Phoenix area continues to violate the federal health standard for PM-10 airborne particulates, or dust. Find out what needs to be done to meet a deadline (at the end of this year) for a plan to reduce particulate pollution by five percent a year until the standard is met. Guests: Steve Owens – Director, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Bob Kard – Director, Maricopa County’s Air Quality Department Resources: ADEQ Web site: http://www.azdeq.gov/index.html Maricopa County’s Air Quality Web site: http://www.maricopa.gov/aq/ Maricopa County’s BringBackBlue.org Clean Air Initiative: http://www.bringbackblue.org/
Guests:
  • Steve Owens - Director, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality
  • Bob Kard - Director, Maricopa County’s Air Quality Department
Category: Environment

View Transcript
Cary Pfeffer:
Tonight on "Horizon," the launching of an ad campaign meant to reduce meth use by Arizona teenagers. Arizona's efforts to control dust and particulates in the valley have failed to satisfy the E.P.A. the state now faces a deadline to deal with this pollution problem. Those stories are next on "Horizon."

Announcer:
"Horizon" is made possible by contributions from the friends of 8. Members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

Cary Pfeffer:
Good evening, I'm Cary Pfeffer. Welcome to "Horizon." A former state lawmaker has been indicted on 10 counts. Former Representative Russell Jones is accused of unlawfully submitting petition sheets that allowed him to run for the legislature. The indictment says the republican from Yuma claimed he personally circulated the nominating petitions, but that he was not present when the signatures were gathered. These are all felony charges, and if convicted, he could get several years in prison.

Cary Pfeffer:
If you live in the valley, you learn to live with the dust. But too much of it can be unhealthy. The Phoenix area continues to fail to meet federal air quality standards for dust and particulates. And the E.P.A. wants the state to do something about it. We'll talk about that in a moment.
But first, David Majure shows us how Maricopa County is trying to keep the dust problem under control.

David Majure:
If you move a lot of dirt in Maricopa County, you have to have a permit.

David Moeller:
Permits are required for anyone that disturbs a 10th of an acre which is roughly 66 feet by 66 feet squared.

David Majure:
With your permit you have to have a plan to avoid sending dust into the air.

David Moeller:
We are going to hold them to the dust plan they have developed.

David Majure:
As one of Maricopa County's air quality inspectors David Moeller responds to complaints.

David Moeller:
John Q. Public is out there watching and they are telling us what you are doing.

David Majure:
And he makes routine visits to work sites to make sure they are using the dust-control measures they promised.

David Moeller:
When I get to a large site, I am looking for information that tells me about the site. One of these things is the project sign behind me here.

David Majure:
It provides him with a permit number and other information he needs to start his inspection.

David Moeller:
Well the water here is important because this particular company choose water as a control measure. They will use water to control the fugitive dust. That's the dust that comes from the site and gets entrained into the air. They have to not only have the water but they have to use it as well.

David Majure:
Water and other chemical stabilizers, when sprayed on dirt, can prevent it from blowing away.

David Moeller:
From the dirt stockpiles I have behind us here, I'm looking to see that there is a visible crust. That these folks have done something to minimize the dust coming from the stockpiles at all times. So in addition to the dirt stockpiles we're looking at the ground in general all around and in front of me. We have moisture or evidence of moisture here in front of me. We see the mud. This is something that gives evidence that they are using water to control a lot of their dust around here.

David Majure:
When using heavy machinery care must be taken to avoid kicking up a cloud of dust.

David Moeller:
Basically we're looking for an amount of dust that is blocking our view.

David Majure:
If his view gets blocked by 20\%, a violation has probably occurred. That's why Moeller recommends a go slow approach when moving earth.

David Moeller:
This is a good example. Like I said the heavy equipment operator is moving slow he is not generating past 20\% opacity. We can see a little bit coming off from the load when he's dumping it. But that's less than 20\%.

David Majure:
Critical to every dust-control plan, are methods for keeping the dirt on the work site and out of the street.

David Moeller:
The rocks are here as a track-out control device. What we're trying to prevent is that when vehicles exit out from the site from dragging dirt and debris out in the public road. Dirt in the public streets is a big issue because we have the general public driving over this dirt and as they pass over the dirt, they kick it up in the ambient air and it stays there. It's particulate matter less than 10 microns and it adds to our pollution problem.

David Majure:
And particulates are a big problem. A serious health problem in the Phoenix area according to the E.P.A. That federal agency is giving the state until the end of the year to come up with more ways to solve it.

Cary Pfeffer:
Joining me to talk about the valley's pollution problems are: Steve Owens, the director of the state department of environmental quality; and Bob Kard, director of Maricopa County's air quality department. Thank you both for being here. Anybody who has lived in this valley for any number of years knows this is not the first time this topic has come up. Steve, I will begin with you to talk about the urgency that we are currently facing because of the new situation from the E.P.A. they are basically getting more serious about the situation as well.

Steve Owens:
It is a long-time problem as you mentioned Cary at the beginning here. The problem really began in the early 1990's when the federal clean air amendments had been passed. The valley has been trying for almost 15 years now to come in compliance with the law it has become an on again off again deal. What we are facing here and now of urgency is we have a deadline of December 31 of 2006.

Cary Pfeffer:
2007

Steve Owens:
Well we had a deadline of 2006 to meet the federal health base standards for what's called course particulate matters called PMT which basically dust and dirts, things you were seeing on construction sites that were shown in the preview there. Because we didn't meet that federal health based guidelines or standards by December 31, 2006, we have to submit a plan to the federal environmental protection agency by December 31 of this year 2007 to show how we'll reduce the dust by 5\% every year until we do meet that federal health based standard. That's not going to be an easy thing to do it's going to take a lot of hard work by awfully lot of people. But we have not been able to meet that standard yet. We are going to have to do it or else E.P.A. is either going to come in and impose its own plan on us and tell us what we have to do or worst-case scenario they will start penalize us by withholding federal highway dollars.

Cary Pfeffer:
We should also as a point of clarification, mention that while we focused on work sites and job and construction sites, that's not the only source of particulates and dust in the air.

Steve Owens:
Absolutely not. There is a lot of dust that is related to commercial and residential construction here. But we also get dust because of agricultural activities. We get dust from people riding all the off road vehicles out on the various vacant lands we have here stirring up dust. We have particulate matter that is being generated y all the sand and gravel operations that are operating in the river beds. And a whole host of other sources of dirt that are out there. People talk a lot about leaf blowers for example. They are a small part but a consistent part of the problem here. Because they blow dirt not only around and sometimes they blow it in the streets. And just as you saw in the preview, cars will come along and stir that dirt back up in the air.

Cary Pfeffer:
Bob, from the county's perspective you are looking at a situation where up until the last few years there's not been the kind of effort that we just saw demonstrated in that story.

Bob Kard:
That's correct. Quite frankly, there have been rules in place for a long time. We have failed to meet standards before. Now we are really under the gun to do the right thing. That's really what it is. Controlling dust is the right thing to do because again, it harms our health. Breathing it in causes permanent damage. We anticipate going forward with ever more stringent actions. This is a no-nonsense plan of action right now.

Cary Pfeffer:
And up until the last couple of years though there weren't the dust inspectors and that sort of thing out there doing this kind of work right?

Bob Kard:
That's correct. In 2006 we were finally able to bring on board a full complement of the 30 dust inspectors. I'm predicting,actually to keep up with the existing workload we probably need another 17. If we get involved and we will be involved of course with implementing additional measures such as the MAG 5\% plan, it's likely to take a lot more. With that of course I don't know if the county will ever have enough inspectors to do the job. We will need all hands on deck meaning cities and towns as well helping us out.

Cary Pfeffer:
Steve, talk a little bit about how far off the mark we are right now because people may be familiar with the fact or see that brown cloud. But talk a little bit about, in layman's terms, how far away are we from being where we should be?

Steve Owens:
We are way off the mark. One of our technical people used the term saying that our air quality monitors were exploding out there because of all the dirt. They are not literally exploding but we had very high levels of dust being recorded at some of the monitors which is really how you determine whether you in what's called attainment meaning whether you meet federal health standards. We have monitors all around the valley here that are taking air quality samples on a daily basis and measuring the particulate matter concentrations in the air. This is a big deal. There's a lot of dust in the air. Some of the problems are due to the fact that we have a lot of agriculture and sand and gravel and construction activities near monitors. More important than that, we have so much activity going on in the valley. We are a rapidly growing area of the country. We have more and more people moving into this valley all the time. More and more construction activity to help build houses for these people to live and more and more cars driving all over the place and stirring up the dirt and landscaping activities and everything else that goes with it. I want to take a moment to compliment Bob Kard and also the Maricopa County board of supervisors for the terrific job they have been doing. They are taking this very seriously .They really are ramping up their activities at the county level to try to crack down on all the people violating the laws. You can have all the rules in the world but not enforcing them, they won't do you any good.

Cary Pfeffer:
If we did indeed lower it by 5\% every year for the next few years, how many years would it take because we get to where the E.P.A. wants us?

Steve Owens:
Well the projection is it will take us about three years to get there. The challenge is going to be how are you measuring what your going to be able to achieve with the various air quality control measures that are being considered now. Bob and I are involved in a lot of discussions with people in the construction industry, with people in the agricultural groups as well as all the rock products and all the other corps that are out there. Along with members of the legislature about trying to craft legislature this year before legislature adjourns. There is a lot of argument about how much bang for the buck you will get with measures. Everybody has great ideas about what somebody else can do to reduce their dust pollution. [laughter]

Cary Pfeffer:
Not me, but someone else.

Steve Owens:
That's right.

Cary Pfeffer:
Bob, I'm sure you get this question regularly or your inspectors do when you're out there. Hey, we live in a desert atmosphere, there's a lot of dust blowing around. How come you are giving us such a hard time? Shouldn't the rules be different given the atmosphere we live in? When those questions come up what are you able to tell people?

Bob Kard:
Well here is really the answer; we live in a desert environment obviously but its mankind's own creation, the dust. Natural desert surface does not emit a lot of dust. For the rare events when we have high winds that create dust storms. The vast majority of the dust storms are due to our having disturbed the earth's surface. If we hadn't done that, the dust storms would be less frequent and intense. And frankly the E.P.A. will allow what they call exceptional events. High wind can be excused if you are doing everything possible to control dust in the meantime.

Cary Pfeffer:
Let's talk about some of the things that can be done. I will ask for both of you. Bob, I'll have you start from the county's perspective for example. These are topics for discussion. At least give folks some sense about what might be under consideration to try to move this process forward and then, Steve, I'll ask you the same.

Bob Kard:
Well we're looking at lot of things. First of all is the MAG, Maricopa Association of Governments, 5\% plan to reduce these dust omissions over the next three years by around 46 hundred tons per year. That's a lot. With that we will have new rules coming out or I should say amended rules. We will tighten up the rules we have already in existence. As of Friday the 13th, we released several rules with very stringent measures involved. We are anticipating what we will have to do even before MAG is finished with the process even before and the state has finished with its legislation. We are adding in what we call most stringent measures into our rules that will mean tighter controls on dust track out. It will mean for example if adopted, No dust past a property line. That's a tough standard to meet. But it needs to be done. If you are blowing dust off your property or someone else's property into your neighbor's yard, it means your not doing enough. So those kind of measures will be there. Yes, we'll have open public debate, we'll take suggestions, we'll craft rules with the public input. I think the public is going to see a very tough set of rules. Although people will complain and say this is costly, really if you look at health costs of breathing in dust, the individuals who have to go to the hospital and have medication, I think those costs more than offset whatever it takes us to do to control the dust.

Cary Pfeffer:
Bob's done a good job outlining some of those ideas. Things you might add to that list or things people might end up hearing about.

Steve Owens:
There's an awful lot of things that can be done in addition to the things Bob talked about which are some of the big-picture things. Some of this stuff is pretty straightforward, no-brainer kinds of things. For example, we at the department of environmental quality issue have a high population advisory saying that dust is going to be bad, that people shouldn't use leaf blowers or lawn mowers to stir up the dust. They shouldn't be using their off road vehicles that stir up the dust. In addition to the no burn days that we're all familiar with here in Maricopa County those apply only to residential fire places where as all the commercial operations they have these outdoor fire pits and other things can burn away under the current situation. We need to do something about that. Agriculture, for example can adopt new practices, best management practices they call it to reduce the amount of towing they do on high advisory days and the list goes on and on and on. A lot of people think on an individual basis there is not much they can do. In their household they are subject to all this dust. While they may think the little bit of dust that's true creating is not going to make a difference, if you multiple that by tens of thousands if not millions of daily activities that are generating dust. It's a big difference and it really adds up.

Cary Pfeffer:
We just have a few minutes left. But I also wanted to…Cars were mentioned. How much of a factor do the cars we drive every day play in the particulate picture?

Steve Owens:
They play a bit of the picture in the particulate picture in a couple of ways. One is that from the vehicle emissions themselves. There is some component in the exhaust that contributes to the particulate thing. Those tend to have more to do with our summer time ozone problem more than anything else but there is a component there. But more importantly what happens is those cars drive on the road, as we saw in the preview, some of the stuff that comes off the big tires of the construction vehicles gets left on the road. Cars drive over that and churned it up put into the air. Both as what are called course particulates. Then it gets crunched up and becomes fine particulates. Which are even worst for you because you can really get those deep down in your lungs and can cause long-term respiratory problems.

Cary Pfeffer:
Bob as we kind of wrap up here, talk a little bit about the timeline again. We are looking at a December end of the year sort of deadline and what people need to keep in mind as we move forward here.

Bob Kard:
I think people need to keep an open mind as we move forward because they are tough measures to be implemented. And as Steve said it will be an across the board effort. Everything from all terrain vehicles and motorcycles whether they are in the Hassayampa river bed or out into the four peaks area, those things add to the problem. People need to realize we have to control that. Everyone has to do their part. I know on the individual level and beyond the regulations we talked about people can visit our website bringbackblue.org. They can see what they can do. There are twelve, we call them the dirty dozen, twelve things they can do to help clean things up. That‘s just an individual level. You will see more outreach from us as well both to the public and to the industry. We will have certification classes for the construction industry and others so they know how to deal with the dust issues. You'll see us ramping up enforcement efforts. We want to keep the E.P.A. at bay. Their standards are there for a reason. They are health based. And what I would say is keep an open mind, help us. If you have input give it to us at the air quality department or ADEQ. The legislators need to hear this as well. There's a lot people can do.

Cary Pfeffer:
Speaking of the legislature as we finish up in the last 30 seconds. It's part in the legislature's ballpark to address some of this this?

Steve Owens:
That's right. There's a lot of stuff that gets done at the county level that Bob works with the board of supervisors to implement. But we need some state laws, some state level activity to make sure one to satisfy the E.P.A. and make sure in the long-term people living in the valley are breathing clean air. People living here with respiratory problems such as the elderly and young children with asthma they really are our early warning system. I can tell you when we have a bad air day here in the Valley, we hear about it from people.

Cary Pfeffer:
Steve Owens thanks very much for being here. Bob Kard we appreciate your time here as well and appreciate the update.

Cary Pfeffer:
For links to more information about air quality from both the state and Maricopa county, visit channel eight's website and be sure to click on "Horizon." you can also watch video of this, and other, Horizon programs right there.

Cary Pfeffer:
The "Arizona meth project" launched an ad campaign today that seeks to reduce the use of meth among teenagers. They are disturbing, in-your-face public service announcements. Here are a couple of the television ads from that campaign. [screaming]

Teenager:
Shut up! [crying]

Teenager:
Stop looking at. [screaming] [baby crying]

Teenager:
This wasn't supposed to be your life. [ laughter ]

Teenager:
I'm going to try meth just once.

Teenager:
I'm going to smoke this just once.

Teenager:
I'm going to steal just once.

Teenager:
I'm going to sleep with him for meth just once.

Kid:
I'm going to try meth just once.

Cary Pfeffer:
Here now to tell us more about those ads is Linda Mushkatel, special projects manager for Maricopa County. One of her new responsibilities is managing the Arizona meth project. Thanks very much for being here.

Linda Mushkatel:
Pleased to be here.

Cary Pfeffer:
The idea is to sort of leave that absolutely undeniable impression especially on young people. You have gotten a chance to take it out and play it for kids even in grade schools. Tell me a little bit about how they responded.

Linda Mushkatel:
Yesterday we launched these ads at a Scottsdale middle school. We showed it to 28, 8th graders. I think one of the best comments was a young man said everyone tells us not to do it these ads shows us what will happen if we do it.

Cary Pfeffer:
That's the idea. To bring the reality because if you don't know about meth use and the hold it takes on you. You can think, oh, this is no big deal. As the most recent PSA we saw, I can try this once and not realize the road they are going down.

Linda Mushkatel:
That's exactly right. It's a highly addictive drug. It has devastating effects, both physically and behaviorally and it happens very quickly. That's the problem with meth.

Cary Pfeffer:
Perhaps people have heard this before. If they have not, they definitely need to. Maricopa County--Arizona and Maricopa County end up showing up at the top of the list when it comes to the abuse of this particular drug. Talk a little bit about that.

Linda Mushkatel:
We mirror the nation in a lot of ways. There's a survey that is done every other year here in Arizona a very well-recognized survey, the Arizona Youth Survey. It surveys 8th, 10th and 12th graders throughout our schools. 4.3\% of our kids report they have used meth in their lifetime. The age of initiation the average age, which of course means younger as well, is 14 years of age. So it's being used early. We have 60\%-plus child abuse and neglect cases related to meth. Counties report that up to half of the robberies and burglary arrests are attributable to meth our hospital admissions are way up because of meth and the list goes on.

Cary Pfeffer:
Right and the idea of this campaign--when you talk about child abuse or armed robberies or any of those kinds of things, the idea is to get young folks, people who are indeed in that 14--12, 13, 14 age group and get that message to them there. Because if you have an impact there, you end up have an impact in the overall market?

Linda Mushkatel:
That's exactly right. We cannot build enough jails we could not provide enough treatment facilities to address the devastating effects of meth. This really makes sense to prevent it.

Cary Pfeffer:
This follows on a pretty famous situation here in Arizona where there's a concerted effort to try to address tobacco use and smoking. It had an impact. I would assume that that is sort of a template as sort of a road map for you to follow as far as this campaign is concerned.

Linda Mushkatel:
Exactly. It's a similar situation where it's youth talking to youth. The T.V. ads are youth based. The radio ads that you'll be hearing all day long now are Arizona youth telling their stories. The billboards, the print ads, it's geared to that 12 to 17-year-old group the 18-24 year old young adults and their parents. If we can have the parents and kids talking, we know that that's one of the best protective factors whether it's tobacco, underage drinking or drug use.

Cary Pfeffer:
Right so for parents watching, that's the message you want to get out not that they will understand everything about it necessarily because there can be a generational divide there but instead just that conversation begins.

Linda Mushkatel:
Absolutely. We hope that parents driving their kids to school in drive time will hear the radio ads and maybe that will be a catalyst to make what can be a difficult discussion easier.

Cary Pfeffer:
For people who perhaps don't have children or don't necessarily, aren't keyed in on that. Talk a little bit about the numbers. We brushed on it briefly. Talk about the economic impact whether it be crime or whether it be lost hours among employees or mental health issues or whatever. Talk about the dollars.

Linda Mushkatel:
I can't give you the exact dollars here in Arizona. It will run into the multi-multi-million dollar figure. I think one of the reasons why the attorney general and Arizona counties were so interested in that is that meth use impacts our jail, our hospitals and prisons and our public defenders then prosecutors and it is something that needs to be managed at the front end rather than the back end.

Cary Pfeffer:
With the Arizona Meth Project Linda Mushkatel thank you for being here. I appreciate it.

Lind Mushkatel:
Thank you.

Mike Sauceda:
The United States Supreme Court has upheld a ban on partial birth abortions. We'll talk to an ASU law professor about the impact of that ruling. Plus there is a brand new law to deal with sexual predators who hunt for children on the internet. We'll talk to the sponsor of the new law. That's Thursday at 7 on Horizon.

Cary Pfeffer:
Of course we'll have the reporters' roundtable as always on Friday. Thanks very much for joining us on this Wednesday evening. I appreciate you tuning in. I'm Cary Pfeffer. Have a great night.

Arizona Meth Project


  • We take a look at the newly-launched advertising campaign intended to reduce methamphetamine use among Arizona teenagers. Resources: Arizona Meth Project Web site: http://www.arizonamethproject.org/
Guests:
  • Steve Owens - Director, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality
  • Bob Kard - Director, Maricopa County’s Air Quality Department
Category: Medical/Health

View Transcript
Cary Pfeffer:
Tonight on "Horizon," the launching of an ad campaign meant to reduce meth use by Arizona teenagers. Arizona's efforts to control dust and particulates in the valley have failed to satisfy the E.P.A. the state now faces a deadline to deal with this pollution problem. Those stories are next on "Horizon."

Announcer:
"Horizon" is made possible by contributions from the friends of 8. Members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

Cary Pfeffer:
Good evening, I'm Cary Pfeffer. Welcome to "Horizon." A former state lawmaker has been indicted on 10 counts. Former Representative Russell Jones is accused of unlawfully submitting petition sheets that allowed him to run for the legislature. The indictment says the republican from Yuma claimed he personally circulated the nominating petitions, but that he was not present when the signatures were gathered. These are all felony charges, and if convicted, he could get several years in prison.

Cary Pfeffer:
If you live in the valley, you learn to live with the dust. But too much of it can be unhealthy. The Phoenix area continues to fail to meet federal air quality standards for dust and particulates. And the E.P.A. wants the state to do something about it. We'll talk about that in a moment.
But first, David Majure shows us how Maricopa County is trying to keep the dust problem under control.

David Majure:
If you move a lot of dirt in Maricopa County, you have to have a permit.

David Moeller:
Permits are required for anyone that disturbs a 10th of an acre which is roughly 66 feet by 66 feet squared.

David Majure:
With your permit you have to have a plan to avoid sending dust into the air.

David Moeller:
We are going to hold them to the dust plan they have developed.

David Majure:
As one of Maricopa County's air quality inspectors David Moeller responds to complaints.

David Moeller:
John Q. Public is out there watching and they are telling us what you are doing.

David Majure:
And he makes routine visits to work sites to make sure they are using the dust-control measures they promised.

David Moeller:
When I get to a large site, I am looking for information that tells me about the site. One of these things is the project sign behind me here.

David Majure:
It provides him with a permit number and other information he needs to start his inspection.

David Moeller:
Well the water here is important because this particular company choose water as a control measure. They will use water to control the fugitive dust. That's the dust that comes from the site and gets entrained into the air. They have to not only have the water but they have to use it as well.

David Majure:
Water and other chemical stabilizers, when sprayed on dirt, can prevent it from blowing away.

David Moeller:
From the dirt stockpiles I have behind us here, I'm looking to see that there is a visible crust. That these folks have done something to minimize the dust coming from the stockpiles at all times. So in addition to the dirt stockpiles we're looking at the ground in general all around and in front of me. We have moisture or evidence of moisture here in front of me. We see the mud. This is something that gives evidence that they are using water to control a lot of their dust around here.

David Majure:
When using heavy machinery care must be taken to avoid kicking up a cloud of dust.

David Moeller:
Basically we're looking for an amount of dust that is blocking our view.

David Majure:
If his view gets blocked by 20\%, a violation has probably occurred. That's why Moeller recommends a go slow approach when moving earth.

David Moeller:
This is a good example. Like I said the heavy equipment operator is moving slow he is not generating past 20\% opacity. We can see a little bit coming off from the load when he's dumping it. But that's less than 20\%.

David Majure:
Critical to every dust-control plan, are methods for keeping the dirt on the work site and out of the street.

David Moeller:
The rocks are here as a track-out control device. What we're trying to prevent is that when vehicles exit out from the site from dragging dirt and debris out in the public road. Dirt in the public streets is a big issue because we have the general public driving over this dirt and as they pass over the dirt, they kick it up in the ambient air and it stays there. It's particulate matter less than 10 microns and it adds to our pollution problem.

David Majure:
And particulates are a big problem. A serious health problem in the Phoenix area according to the E.P.A. That federal agency is giving the state until the end of the year to come up with more ways to solve it.

Cary Pfeffer:
Joining me to talk about the valley's pollution problems are: Steve Owens, the director of the state department of environmental quality; and Bob Kard, director of Maricopa County's air quality department. Thank you both for being here. Anybody who has lived in this valley for any number of years knows this is not the first time this topic has come up. Steve, I will begin with you to talk about the urgency that we are currently facing because of the new situation from the E.P.A. they are basically getting more serious about the situation as well.

Steve Owens:
It is a long-time problem as you mentioned Cary at the beginning here. The problem really began in the early 1990's when the federal clean air amendments had been passed. The valley has been trying for almost 15 years now to come in compliance with the law it has become an on again off again deal. What we are facing here and now of urgency is we have a deadline of December 31 of 2006.

Cary Pfeffer:
2007

Steve Owens:
Well we had a deadline of 2006 to meet the federal health base standards for what's called course particulate matters called PMT which basically dust and dirts, things you were seeing on construction sites that were shown in the preview there. Because we didn't meet that federal health based guidelines or standards by December 31, 2006, we have to submit a plan to the federal environmental protection agency by December 31 of this year 2007 to show how we'll reduce the dust by 5\% every year until we do meet that federal health based standard. That's not going to be an easy thing to do it's going to take a lot of hard work by awfully lot of people. But we have not been able to meet that standard yet. We are going to have to do it or else E.P.A. is either going to come in and impose its own plan on us and tell us what we have to do or worst-case scenario they will start penalize us by withholding federal highway dollars.

Cary Pfeffer:
We should also as a point of clarification, mention that while we focused on work sites and job and construction sites, that's not the only source of particulates and dust in the air.

Steve Owens:
Absolutely not. There is a lot of dust that is related to commercial and residential construction here. But we also get dust because of agricultural activities. We get dust from people riding all the off road vehicles out on the various vacant lands we have here stirring up dust. We have particulate matter that is being generated y all the sand and gravel operations that are operating in the river beds. And a whole host of other sources of dirt that are out there. People talk a lot about leaf blowers for example. They are a small part but a consistent part of the problem here. Because they blow dirt not only around and sometimes they blow it in the streets. And just as you saw in the preview, cars will come along and stir that dirt back up in the air.

Cary Pfeffer:
Bob, from the county's perspective you are looking at a situation where up until the last few years there's not been the kind of effort that we just saw demonstrated in that story.

Bob Kard:
That's correct. Quite frankly, there have been rules in place for a long time. We have failed to meet standards before. Now we are really under the gun to do the right thing. That's really what it is. Controlling dust is the right thing to do because again, it harms our health. Breathing it in causes permanent damage. We anticipate going forward with ever more stringent actions. This is a no-nonsense plan of action right now.

Cary Pfeffer:
And up until the last couple of years though there weren't the dust inspectors and that sort of thing out there doing this kind of work right?

Bob Kard:
That's correct. In 2006 we were finally able to bring on board a full complement of the 30 dust inspectors. I'm predicting,actually to keep up with the existing workload we probably need another 17. If we get involved and we will be involved of course with implementing additional measures such as the MAG 5\% plan, it's likely to take a lot more. With that of course I don't know if the county will ever have enough inspectors to do the job. We will need all hands on deck meaning cities and towns as well helping us out.

Cary Pfeffer:
Steve, talk a little bit about how far off the mark we are right now because people may be familiar with the fact or see that brown cloud. But talk a little bit about, in layman's terms, how far away are we from being where we should be?

Steve Owens:
We are way off the mark. One of our technical people used the term saying that our air quality monitors were exploding out there because of all the dirt. They are not literally exploding but we had very high levels of dust being recorded at some of the monitors which is really how you determine whether you in what's called attainment meaning whether you meet federal health standards. We have monitors all around the valley here that are taking air quality samples on a daily basis and measuring the particulate matter concentrations in the air. This is a big deal. There's a lot of dust in the air. Some of the problems are due to the fact that we have a lot of agriculture and sand and gravel and construction activities near monitors. More important than that, we have so much activity going on in the valley. We are a rapidly growing area of the country. We have more and more people moving into this valley all the time. More and more construction activity to help build houses for these people to live and more and more cars driving all over the place and stirring up the dirt and landscaping activities and everything else that goes with it. I want to take a moment to compliment Bob Kard and also the Maricopa County board of supervisors for the terrific job they have been doing. They are taking this very seriously .They really are ramping up their activities at the county level to try to crack down on all the people violating the laws. You can have all the rules in the world but not enforcing them, they won't do you any good.

Cary Pfeffer:
If we did indeed lower it by 5\% every year for the next few years, how many years would it take because we get to where the E.P.A. wants us?

Steve Owens:
Well the projection is it will take us about three years to get there. The challenge is going to be how are you measuring what your going to be able to achieve with the various air quality control measures that are being considered now. Bob and I are involved in a lot of discussions with people in the construction industry, with people in the agricultural groups as well as all the rock products and all the other corps that are out there. Along with members of the legislature about trying to craft legislature this year before legislature adjourns. There is a lot of argument about how much bang for the buck you will get with measures. Everybody has great ideas about what somebody else can do to reduce their dust pollution. [laughter]

Cary Pfeffer:
Not me, but someone else.

Steve Owens:
That's right.

Cary Pfeffer:
Bob, I'm sure you get this question regularly or your inspectors do when you're out there. Hey, we live in a desert atmosphere, there's a lot of dust blowing around. How come you are giving us such a hard time? Shouldn't the rules be different given the atmosphere we live in? When those questions come up what are you able to tell people?

Bob Kard:
Well here is really the answer; we live in a desert environment obviously but its mankind's own creation, the dust. Natural desert surface does not emit a lot of dust. For the rare events when we have high winds that create dust storms. The vast majority of the dust storms are due to our having disturbed the earth's surface. If we hadn't done that, the dust storms would be less frequent and intense. And frankly the E.P.A. will allow what they call exceptional events. High wind can be excused if you are doing everything possible to control dust in the meantime.

Cary Pfeffer:
Let's talk about some of the things that can be done. I will ask for both of you. Bob, I'll have you start from the county's perspective for example. These are topics for discussion. At least give folks some sense about what might be under consideration to try to move this process forward and then, Steve, I'll ask you the same.

Bob Kard:
Well we're looking at lot of things. First of all is the MAG, Maricopa Association of Governments, 5\% plan to reduce these dust omissions over the next three years by around 46 hundred tons per year. That's a lot. With that we will have new rules coming out or I should say amended rules. We will tighten up the rules we have already in existence. As of Friday the 13th, we released several rules with very stringent measures involved. We are anticipating what we will have to do even before MAG is finished with the process even before and the state has finished with its legislation. We are adding in what we call most stringent measures into our rules that will mean tighter controls on dust track out. It will mean for example if adopted, No dust past a property line. That's a tough standard to meet. But it needs to be done. If you are blowing dust off your property or someone else's property into your neighbor's yard, it means your not doing enough. So those kind of measures will be there. Yes, we'll have open public debate, we'll take suggestions, we'll craft rules with the public input. I think the public is going to see a very tough set of rules. Although people will complain and say this is costly, really if you look at health costs of breathing in dust, the individuals who have to go to the hospital and have medication, I think those costs more than offset whatever it takes us to do to control the dust.

Cary Pfeffer:
Bob's done a good job outlining some of those ideas. Things you might add to that list or things people might end up hearing about.

Steve Owens:
There's an awful lot of things that can be done in addition to the things Bob talked about which are some of the big-picture things. Some of this stuff is pretty straightforward, no-brainer kinds of things. For example, we at the department of environmental quality issue have a high population advisory saying that dust is going to be bad, that people shouldn't use leaf blowers or lawn mowers to stir up the dust. They shouldn't be using their off road vehicles that stir up the dust. In addition to the no burn days that we're all familiar with here in Maricopa County those apply only to residential fire places where as all the commercial operations they have these outdoor fire pits and other things can burn away under the current situation. We need to do something about that. Agriculture, for example can adopt new practices, best management practices they call it to reduce the amount of towing they do on high advisory days and the list goes on and on and on. A lot of people think on an individual basis there is not much they can do. In their household they are subject to all this dust. While they may think the little bit of dust that's true creating is not going to make a difference, if you multiple that by tens of thousands if not millions of daily activities that are generating dust. It's a big difference and it really adds up.

Cary Pfeffer:
We just have a few minutes left. But I also wanted to…Cars were mentioned. How much of a factor do the cars we drive every day play in the particulate picture?

Steve Owens:
They play a bit of the picture in the particulate picture in a couple of ways. One is that from the vehicle emissions themselves. There is some component in the exhaust that contributes to the particulate thing. Those tend to have more to do with our summer time ozone problem more than anything else but there is a component there. But more importantly what happens is those cars drive on the road, as we saw in the preview, some of the stuff that comes off the big tires of the construction vehicles gets left on the road. Cars drive over that and churned it up put into the air. Both as what are called course particulates. Then it gets crunched up and becomes fine particulates. Which are even worst for you because you can really get those deep down in your lungs and can cause long-term respiratory problems.

Cary Pfeffer:
Bob as we kind of wrap up here, talk a little bit about the timeline again. We are looking at a December end of the year sort of deadline and what people need to keep in mind as we move forward here.

Bob Kard:
I think people need to keep an open mind as we move forward because they are tough measures to be implemented. And as Steve said it will be an across the board effort. Everything from all terrain vehicles and motorcycles whether they are in the Hassayampa river bed or out into the four peaks area, those things add to the problem. People need to realize we have to control that. Everyone has to do their part. I know on the individual level and beyond the regulations we talked about people can visit our website bringbackblue.org. They can see what they can do. There are twelve, we call them the dirty dozen, twelve things they can do to help clean things up. That‘s just an individual level. You will see more outreach from us as well both to the public and to the industry. We will have certification classes for the construction industry and others so they know how to deal with the dust issues. You'll see us ramping up enforcement efforts. We want to keep the E.P.A. at bay. Their standards are there for a reason. They are health based. And what I would say is keep an open mind, help us. If you have input give it to us at the air quality department or ADEQ. The legislators need to hear this as well. There's a lot people can do.

Cary Pfeffer:
Speaking of the legislature as we finish up in the last 30 seconds. It's part in the legislature's ballpark to address some of this this?

Steve Owens:
That's right. There's a lot of stuff that gets done at the county level that Bob works with the board of supervisors to implement. But we need some state laws, some state level activity to make sure one to satisfy the E.P.A. and make sure in the long-term people living in the valley are breathing clean air. People living here with respiratory problems such as the elderly and young children with asthma they really are our early warning system. I can tell you when we have a bad air day here in the Valley, we hear about it from people.

Cary Pfeffer:
Steve Owens thanks very much for being here. Bob Kard we appreciate your time here as well and appreciate the update.

Cary Pfeffer:
For links to more information about air quality from both the state and Maricopa county, visit channel eight's website and be sure to click on "Horizon." you can also watch video of this, and other, Horizon programs right there.

Cary Pfeffer:
The "Arizona meth project" launched an ad campaign today that seeks to reduce the use of meth among teenagers. They are disturbing, in-your-face public service announcements. Here are a couple of the television ads from that campaign. [screaming]

Teenager:
Shut up! [crying]

Teenager:
Stop looking at. [screaming] [baby crying]

Teenager:
This wasn't supposed to be your life. [ laughter ]

Teenager:
I'm going to try meth just once.

Teenager:
I'm going to smoke this just once.

Teenager:
I'm going to steal just once.

Teenager:
I'm going to sleep with him for meth just once.

Kid:
I'm going to try meth just once.

Cary Pfeffer:
Here now to tell us more about those ads is Linda Mushkatel, special projects manager for Maricopa County. One of her new responsibilities is managing the Arizona meth project. Thanks very much for being here.

Linda Mushkatel:
Pleased to be here.

Cary Pfeffer:
The idea is to sort of leave that absolutely undeniable impression especially on young people. You have gotten a chance to take it out and play it for kids even in grade schools. Tell me a little bit about how they responded.

Linda Mushkatel:
Yesterday we launched these ads at a Scottsdale middle school. We showed it to 28, 8th graders. I think one of the best comments was a young man said everyone tells us not to do it these ads shows us what will happen if we do it.

Cary Pfeffer:
That's the idea. To bring the reality because if you don't know about meth use and the hold it takes on you. You can think, oh, this is no big deal. As the most recent PSA we saw, I can try this once and not realize the road they are going down.

Linda Mushkatel:
That's exactly right. It's a highly addictive drug. It has devastating effects, both physically and behaviorally and it happens very quickly. That's the problem with meth.

Cary Pfeffer:
Perhaps people have heard this before. If they have not, they definitely need to. Maricopa County--Arizona and Maricopa County end up showing up at the top of the list when it comes to the abuse of this particular drug. Talk a little bit about that.

Linda Mushkatel:
We mirror the nation in a lot of ways. There's a survey that is done every other year here in Arizona a very well-recognized survey, the Arizona Youth Survey. It surveys 8th, 10th and 12th graders throughout our schools. 4.3\% of our kids report they have used meth in their lifetime. The age of initiation the average age, which of course means younger as well, is 14 years of age. So it's being used early. We have 60\%-plus child abuse and neglect cases related to meth. Counties report that up to half of the robberies and burglary arrests are attributable to meth our hospital admissions are way up because of meth and the list goes on.

Cary Pfeffer:
Right and the idea of this campaign--when you talk about child abuse or armed robberies or any of those kinds of things, the idea is to get young folks, people who are indeed in that 14--12, 13, 14 age group and get that message to them there. Because if you have an impact there, you end up have an impact in the overall market?

Linda Mushkatel:
That's exactly right. We cannot build enough jails we could not provide enough treatment facilities to address the devastating effects of meth. This really makes sense to prevent it.

Cary Pfeffer:
This follows on a pretty famous situation here in Arizona where there's a concerted effort to try to address tobacco use and smoking. It had an impact. I would assume that that is sort of a template as sort of a road map for you to follow as far as this campaign is concerned.

Linda Mushkatel:
Exactly. It's a similar situation where it's youth talking to youth. The T.V. ads are youth based. The radio ads that you'll be hearing all day long now are Arizona youth telling their stories. The billboards, the print ads, it's geared to that 12 to 17-year-old group the 18-24 year old young adults and their parents. If we can have the parents and kids talking, we know that that's one of the best protective factors whether it's tobacco, underage drinking or drug use.

Cary Pfeffer:
Right so for parents watching, that's the message you want to get out not that they will understand everything about it necessarily because there can be a generational divide there but instead just that conversation begins.

Linda Mushkatel:
Absolutely. We hope that parents driving their kids to school in drive time will hear the radio ads and maybe that will be a catalyst to make what can be a difficult discussion easier.

Cary Pfeffer:
For people who perhaps don't have children or don't necessarily, aren't keyed in on that. Talk a little bit about the numbers. We brushed on it briefly. Talk about the economic impact whether it be crime or whether it be lost hours among employees or mental health issues or whatever. Talk about the dollars.

Linda Mushkatel:
I can't give you the exact dollars here in Arizona. It will run into the multi-multi-million dollar figure. I think one of the reasons why the attorney general and Arizona counties were so interested in that is that meth use impacts our jail, our hospitals and prisons and our public defenders then prosecutors and it is something that needs to be managed at the front end rather than the back end.

Cary Pfeffer:
With the Arizona Meth Project Linda Mushkatel thank you for being here. I appreciate it.

Lind Mushkatel:
Thank you.

Mike Sauceda:
The United States Supreme Court has upheld a ban on partial birth abortions. We'll talk to an ASU law professor about the impact of that ruling. Plus there is a brand new law to deal with sexual predators who hunt for children on the internet. We'll talk to the sponsor of the new law. That's Thursday at 7 on Horizon.

Cary Pfeffer:
Of course we'll have the reporters' roundtable as always on Friday. Thanks very much for joining us on this Wednesday evening. I appreciate you tuning in. I'm Cary Pfeffer. Have a great night.

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