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Tacoma-Pierce County Clean Air Task Force

The Tacoma-Pierce County Clean Air Task Force is an advisory committee made up of community leaders, citizen representatives, agency staff and others with a strong interest in improving our air quality and protecting public health.  The Task Force met from May 2011 through January 2012 to explore solutions to our region's wintertime air pollution problem.  The group's final recommendations were delivered to the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency in December 2011.

Community members and agency staff serving on the Clean Air Task Force

Charge and Ground Rules
Task force objective and collaborative process

Agendas, meeting notes, presentations and draft documents

Task Force Recommendations

The Clean Air Task Force worked collaboratively with staff from the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency to better understand the nature of our wintertime air quality problem and the sources of fine particle pollution in our community.  Throughout the process, they considered the following key questions:

  • How do we help people heat their homes more cleanly?
  • How do we reduce pollution from traffic while still moving people and goods?
  • How do we fund programs to help implement improvements?
  • What mix of strategies is enforceable and achievable?  (Under the federal Clean Air Act, the plan needs to include steps beyond education and voluntary actions and make sure health standards are achieved.)

Because more than half (53%) of our fall and wintertime pollution is from wood smoke, the Task Force focused primarily on reducing pollution from stoves and other wood burning devices.  However, the group also noted that there is no single solution to achieving the federal air quality standard and recommended a combination of strategies to reduce pollution from other sources (e.g., gasoline and diesel vehicles), as well. 

Their recommendations included:

Strategy #1: Enhancing enforcement of burn bans - This strategy is intended to ensure that those who are contributing the most to the fine particle pollution during periods of the poorest air quality reduce their emissions.

Strategy #2: Requiring removal of uncertified wood stoves and inserts - The intent of this strategy is to reduce pollution by removing the older, more polluting wood stoves and inserts from the nonattainment area.

Strategy #3: Reducing fine particle pollution from other sources - Approximately one-quarter to one-third of the reductions needed to meet the federal fine particle pollution standard will be achieved through new federal regulations and local initiatives related to gasoline and diesel engines, ships, and industry.

Public Input Considered by Task Force

The Clean Air Task Force included representatives from a broad cross-section of interests within Tacoma and Pierce County.  To the greatest extent possible, the group considered the perspectives of and possible impacts to all sectors of our community.  As they developed their recommendations, the Task Force invited public input and considered the feedback they received in their final report.

Read more about the public input received on the draft strategies.