- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 24, 2005


LOS ANGELES — California’s San Joaquin Valley is a boon to wine lovers, but pollution watchers say gases produced from the wineries are contributing to smog.

The Environmental Protection Agency says the valley in recent years has surpassed Los Angeles and Houston to become the United States’ bad-air capital, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday. The valley’s Air Pollution Control District is preparing to adopt the nation’s first air-quality restrictions on winemaking, according to the report.

The gases from the 109 wineries, which produce about 300 million gallons annually, do not rank with car exhaust or cow flatulence as leading causes of the region’s thickening air pollution. But, the Times said, regulators say they are giving off far more than a subtle hint of unhealthy air.

The restrictions would require mass wine producers to install controls on their fermentation tanks to catch wayward emissions of ethanol, a major smog-producing pollutant. Winemakers are willing to help clean the valley’s air, but are concerned that ill-conceived pollution controls may collect bacteria and contaminate their products.

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