California’s first Clean Air Center opens in San Francisco
For immediate release
SAN FRANCISCO – The Bay Area Air Quality Management District, California Air Resources Board (CARB) and San Francisco Department of Emergency Management announced today the opening of the first Clean Air Center in California, funded through a new pilot program.
The Wildfire Smoke Clean Air Centers for Vulnerable Populations Incentive Pilot Program provides $5 million in funding through a grant program to upgrade ventilation systems and provide portable air cleaners to create a statewide network of Clean Air Centers. These facilities will provide vulnerable populations a respite from wildfires and other smoke events.
The state’s first Clean Air Center will be located in the Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood in San Francisco, at the Bayview/Linda Brooks-Burton branch of the San Francisco Public Library. In the coming weeks, more than 300 Clean Air Centers will be available throughout the Bay Area, when air quality is poor due to wildfires. More than 75 percent of Clean Air Centers in the Bay Area will benefit vulnerable communities most impacted by air pollution.
“As climate change increasingly drives longer, more intense wildfire seasons, it’s critical for residents to have access to clean, filtered air when smoke blankets the region,” said Sharon Landers, interim executive officer of the Air District. “Clean Air Centers offer a place for those who may not have access to clean air so they can protect their health from wildfire smoke.”
“Every wildfire season, we see smoke events impact some communities more than others,” said Liane Randolph, Chair of the California Air Resource Board. “These are often vulnerable communities already suffering from persistent air pollution. We are proud to stand alongside the Air District to launch the statewide Clean Air Center program to protect those who need it most during periods of increased exposure to wildfire smoke.”
“Over the past several years we have seen the impacts of wildfire smoke to San Francisco’s air quality, and more recently with worsening conditions and increasing regularity. We know that climate change impacts everyone, especially those who live in areas with higher pollution and fewer resources,” said San Francisco Mayor London N. Breed. “That's why I am grateful to the California Air Resources Board and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District for proactively providing air cleaning equipment to jurisdictions like San Francisco. This allows us to equip community serving organizations so they can be places of respite for our residents during times of poor air quality.”
Also unveiled today was the Clean Air Centers logo, designed by CARB to help easily identify facilities in the statewide network of Clean Air Centers being established through this pilot program.
To better prepare, respond and build resiliency to catastrophic wildfires, the Air District worked with Assembly Member Buffy Wicks to sponsor Assembly Bill 836: Wildfire Smoke Clean Air Center Incentive Program for Vulnerable Populations. Governor Newson signed the bill in October 2019. CARB staff worked in partnership with the air districts to develop guidelines for the pilot program, and allocated the $5 million in funding as follows:
- $3 million to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District
- $750,000 to the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District
- $250,000 to the South Coast Air Quality Management District
- $1 million to the California Air Pollution Control Officers Association for distribution among other air districts statewide
CARB expects all Clean Air Centers in California funded through the Wildfire Smoke Clean Air Centers for Vulnerable Populations Incentive Pilot Program to be operational by 2023.