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Laws and Regulations 
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  RELATED INFORMATION
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
Diesel Engines
Fumigation
Ozone Threatens Crop Health—And Our Own

Ozone is a highly reactive compound. In the Clean Air Act, there are two different aspects of ozone that are regulated. One is the ozone formed at ground-level (also known as smog) that has health effects and damages plants; the other is the ozone layer in the stratosphere, found several miles above the earth surface. The U.S. EPA Web site provides information on both ground-level and stratospheric ozone.
 
Ozone (Smog)
 
Ground level ozone is formed when a nitrogen oxide (NOx) reacts with a volatile organic compound (VOC) in the presence of sunlight. Thus to reduce ozone, efforts are made to reduce sources of both NOx and of VOCs.
 
A number of regions in the Central Valley are out of compliance for ozone (smog) as set forth in the federal Clean Air Act. The San Joaquin Valley is struggling the most to meet the standards. Thus, the San Joaquin Valley Air District has the greatest number of regulations to reduce both VOCs and NOx emissions. Smog is much more of an issue in the summer. Ozone forming compounds are often only regulated from May 1 through October 31 in California.
 
Ozone (Stratospheric Layer)
 
Ozone in the higher atmosphere around the Earth is useful as a filter of damaging ultraviolet radiation coming from the sun. Certain kinds of compounds can make their way up into the higher atmosphere (stratosphere) and react with ozone thereby reducing the ozone layer. EPA’s Office of Air is mandated to reduce or prohibit the use of ozone-depleting substances under the Montreal Protocol (an international agreement) as well as under the Clean Air Act.
 
Of most relevance to almond growers is the restriction on the use of methyl bromide as a soil or post harvest fumigant. Methyl bromide use has been banned in the U.S. as of 2005 except for uses permitted under two exemptions. One is a Critical Use Exemption (CUE) which requires an annual application to the Montreal Protocol demonstrating that the alternatives are either not effective or are not economically viable. A limited amount of methyl bromide for soil fumigation is available to almond growers under a CUE exemption.
 
The use of methyl bromide for post harvest fumigations is only permitted under the “Quarantine & Pre-shipment” exemption, which requires that another country or government agency mandate the use of methyl bromide to prevent the movement of pests. See the U.S. EPA Web site for more information.
 
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