Valley's air alert has been extended

FRESNO, Calif.

Each one of the monitoring sites is used to keep the Valley in compliance with federal air quality standards. If one of those sites receives more than three violations in a penalty season, then a hefty fine is assessed. There's one site in Clovis that's on the brink of having its fourth violation and residents are being asked to cut back on their emissions.

"What, I didn't even know about that," said Clovis resident Holly Rollis. Many Clovis residents were unaware that their area could push the Valley over the limit when it comes to meeting federal air quality standards.

"It's hard to keep conscious of all the new rules, have to do this at this certain time," said Chad Proctor.

According to the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, there are several hotspots where smog accumulates and Clovis is one of them.

The Central Valley is currently going through a three year fine for exceeding federal ozone guidelines. A $12 dollar increase in vehicle license fees will be imposed on Valley residents beginning this month because of previous violations. And another violation will mean more penalties.

"We have to start all over, it's like we begin all over again. We then have to go at least a whole new three years without more than three violations at the Clovis monitor in that three year period," said Jaime Holt with the Air Pollution Control District. Officials there are pleading with the public to refrain from any activity that would create pollution over the next few days. That includes running your lawnmower, idling your car through drive-thrus, and unnecessary driving during the afternoon hours.

"So if folks out there have errands they were going to run this afternoon, run them on Saturday, run them on Sunday. Push them off till the weekend, wait until the temperatures cool off a little bit," said Holt.

But many people aren't taking those warnings seriously. "I think everybody wants to change and everybody wants to do right but we are people of convenience, so I think that's going to take the lead," said Proctor.

It's not just the possible penalties that come into play, but also health concerns. And although Clovis could tip the air quality scales, air district officials say the blame will fall on everyone. Violations in other cities could also push the Valley towards another three year penalty that could mean a fine of $29 million per year.

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