CARB adds more California neighborhoods in disadvantaged communities to statewide Community Air Protection Program
For immediate release
SACRAMENTO – California’s fight against air pollution at the community level gained new momentum today as the California Air Resources Board added three new communities to the Community Air Protection Program and announced $5 million in Community Air Grants for 29 projects throughout the state.
The three communities – Eastern Coachella Valley, South East Los Angeles and Southwest Stockton – will be added to the original10 communities selected last year during the first round of approvals under Assembly Bill 617, which establishes the program to reduce exposure in the communities most impacted by air pollution.
“California is turning the top-down air quality planning approach on its head,” said CARB Chair Mary D. Nichols. “We are committed to taking more actions as well as serving as technical and operational consultants for the communities that bear the brunt of air pollution.”
Under the Community Air Protection Program, community members work with local air districts to conduct air monitoring and prepare community emissions reduction programs. These include a mix of strategies to reduce air pollution at the community level, including new regulations, targeted incentive funding, enhanced enforcement, and coordinating efforts with other agencies based on community priorities.
The three communities chosen for the program this year were selected from among 12 nominations. Communities are nominated for the program by community members, local air districts, community based organizations and other stakeholders. CARB staff performs a technical assessment of nominated communities followed by public comment. The Board makes the final decision on community selection.
This year, the Eastern Coachella Valley and the South East Los Angeles communities, both in the South Coast Air Quality Management District, and Southwest Stockton, in the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, were selected for both community air monitoring and a community emissions reduction program.
In addition, the Portside Environmental Justice Neighborhoods Community selected last year in the San Diego Air Pollution Control District was selected to transition from air pollution monitoring to development of a community emissions reduction program.
Twenty-Nine Projects to Receive Community Air Grants
At today’s meeting, the Board also announced the recipients of the second round of Community Air Grants. A total of 29 projects across seven air districts will receive $5 million in funding for technical and educational projects. The projects include:
- Coalition for a Safe Environment that will establish a low-cost, stationary air quality monitoring program in Wilmington and will also create a Community Advisory Committee; student and adult internship training programs; and a public website for displaying monitoring data.
- Blue Lake Rancheria will bring hands-on air quality monitoring and AB 617-focused curriculum to local elementary and high schools in the North Coast Air Basin.
- Valley Vision will engage the Norwood/Old North Sacramento and Oak Park communities through education and workshops on AB 617 and support community-led air monitoring efforts.
West Oakland Community Emissions Reduction Plan
Today’s Board action came on the heels of its approval last week of the first community emissions reduction plan under AB 617: the Owning Our Air: West Oakland Community Action Plan.
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District partnered with the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project to form a community steering committee that developed the plan. The plan focuses on reducing exposure to fine particulate matter, diesel particulate matter, and other toxic air contaminants impacting the West Oakland community. It includes state, regional, and local strategies to reduce air pollution emissions and exposure.
“The challenges many disadvantaged communities face due to the harmful effects of air pollution are staggering, so we want to provide each and every community member with the necessary tools to protect their health and empower them to make science-based decisions,” said Veronica Eady, CARB Assistant Executive Officer for Environmental Justice.
“We will work hand-in-hand to make sure the residents’ concerns are heard and taken into account when new air pollution control strategies are developed and deployed in the areas where they live and work.”
In the coming months, the Board will consider the emissions reduction plans for communities in the Imperial County Air Pollution Control District (January), the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (February), and the South Coast Air Quality Management District (March).
Related Community Action Efforts
CARB continues its statewide efforts to achieve emissions reductions in all communities, such that those communities not developing or implementing a community emissions reduction program can benefit. These efforts include:
- Community Air Grants Program
- Community Air Protection Funds
- Other statewide efforts such as Advanced Clean Trucks Regulation and Community Air Quality Portal