On Top of Old Smoky

The provincial government seems to be concerned about the aesthetics of air in the Fraser Valley. According to documents posted on BC Bid yesterday, the environment ministry is looking to set visibility goals for wilderness areas and urban areas in the region. The Clinton administration launched a similar initiative to reduce the level of haze in American parks back in 1999. At the time that initiative was announced, southern governors expressed concern "that resources being used to make the air healthier would be 'misallocated' to improve visibility." And power industry executives argued the new regulations to meet those goals were "too rigid" and could "cost billions of dollars, a price that could be reflected in energy bills." This, according to The New York Times's Michael Janofsky. The following is a complete copy of the aforementioned documents, which invites bids on a contract leading to the "establishment a draft visibility goal for the Lower Fraser Valley that will ultimately be the cornerstone to a visibility protection pilot program for the valley." Work on that contract is expected to get underway in January and wrap-up in March.

A) SERVICES
The objective of the services will be to establish a science and policy foundation which will serve to develop a visibility goal for i) wilderness areas and ii) urban areas. The services listed here define the foundation which includes: the development of a process to be followed to establish such a goal, the appropriate form/metric of the goal and the scientific tools, methodology and data/information that are critical to its development.

The outcome of these services should allow an application of this goal setting process to the establishment of a draft visibility goal for the Lower Fraser Valley that will ultimately be the cornerstone to a visibility protection pilot program for the valley. Such a goal and the process should have generic elements that allow its broader geographical application.

The contracted services will involve reviewing past and current science and policies on visibility, conducting interviews with US government agency contacts regarding visibility experience, and to provide recommendations on the establishment of a visibility goal. In order to achieve this, specific services will include:

* an inventory of methodologies used for establishing "Ëśmodel' visibility goals in other urban (e.g. Denver) or wilderness visibility protection programs (e.g. Regional Haze Goal for Class I areas) and an assessment
of their effectiveness in achieving visibility protection and improvement.
* a review of science tools and studies needed to establish a goal (including modelling, monitoring, analysis techniques, establishment and testing of a metric)
* a review of public/perception tools that assess acceptability and valuation and further studies needed to establish a goal. This will include an assessment of the implications and applicability of public/perception valuation studies that have been applied in the Lower Fraser Valley (McNeill and Roberge, Pryor)
* produce a template process/approach for establishing a visibility goal (for application in the LFV with generic elements for broader geographical application, both urban and wilderness) which would include
recommendations on:
* an appropriate form and metric of a visibility goal
* a science program needed to provide support for the goal
* methodologies that could be applied to establish a goal
* provide a report which summarizes the findings of the above reviews, the template process/approach,
and recommendations.
B) TERM:
From Jan 9/08 to March 31/08

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