Air Quality Action Items and Alerts: Grand Junction City Council Q&A

Three new members were elected in April 2019.

Chuck McDaniel responded to the questionnaire we sent to all candidates before the election. Here are his thoughts on air quality issues:

Q: What role do you believe the City of Grand Junction should play in promoting a clean, healthy environment for its citizens?

Mr. McDaniel (at large member): Air quality is an issue for a greater area than our city limits.  The City needs to cooperate with and encourage the county and the other municipalities to create valley-wide solutions.  That said, the City can regulate air pollution by regulating sources.  The City has begun to regulate open burning, but more can be done to reduce smoke created through agricultural burning. For example, the City can join with other governments to encourage non-burning methods of weed and ditch cleaning. The City can also expand its use of compressed natural gas in its vehicles, use electric powered City vehicles, enact and enforce no burn regulations in winter during inversions.

Q: Do you support creating trails on canal banks? Such trails would give residents safer ways to get to school and work by bicycle, and cut down on vehicle traffic and pollution.

Mr. McDaniel: I support creation of new trails and bike lanes as often as those routes are feasible.  I believe that canal banks could provide routes that would add connectivity to the City’s trail system.  However, I am aware that the ditch and irrigation companies oppose opening their banks to bike and pedestrian traffic.  I believe that conversations with the ditch and irrigation companies could provide a forum for the City to understand the issues of the companies and move toward a solution to provide access.  Liability issues can be resolved through indemnities and/or insurance.

Q: Old, non-certified wood burning stoves create a tremendous amount of pollution in our community, especially during winter months when we also have inversions. Citizens for Clean Air would like to encourage residents to change out those wood burners for gas, electric, or ductless split heat pump systems.  Would you support such a program?

Chuck McDaniel: Yes, I would support such a program.  The City can provide education about the pollution caused by wood burning stoves and fireplaces and encourage removal from use.  With building codes, we can allow replacement of older units only with certified ones. Also, we can try to find funds to provide monetary incentives for owners who replace the older units voluntarily.

Q: In light of the projections for future growth, how important is it to you to be proactive in protecting our air quality so we don’t go into non-attainment in 10 years or so?

Mr. McDaniel: I think we need to be ahead of the growth I expect by: working on transportation plans that reduce vehicular traffic and provide walking and bicycle access; through land use planning, encourage development and redevelopment of residential neighborhoods that allow walking or bicycling to work, shopping, etc.; encouraging use of low-emission or zero-emission vehicles and electric and CNG vehicles; extending and encouraging public transportation; limiting open burning; lobbying for strong methane emission controls.

Here are ongoing activities CCA invites you, residents of Mesa County, to participate in:

  • Follow the air quality readings for particulate matter (PM) and ozone daily. It’s easy; just click the links on our home page. What do you notice when we experience wildfires in the region, or open burning in certain areas of the valley, or inversion periods in the colder months?
  • Share your concerns when air quality dissipates by writing a letter to the editor (LTE) to the Daily Sentinel  letters@gjsentinel.com In your own words, write about why clean air is important to you and your family. Note the Sentinel limits LTEs to 300 words or less.
  • Let our elected officials hear from you about why air quality matters by contacting the Mesa County Commissioners https://www.mesacounty.us/commissioners/, the Grand Junction City Council http://www.gjcity.org/city-government/city-council/,  the Palisade Board of Trustees, and the Fruita City Countil https://www.fruita.org/citycouncil/page/council-members
  • Support our work by following updates on our website and be sure to attend the annual Air Quality Public Forum. You are welcome to sit in on one of our regular working meetings as well. Contact us for dates, times and location.
  • Donate towards our efforts to improve the Grand Valley air quality.