CARB approves Community Emissions Reduction Program for San Diego Portside Community
SACRAMENTO – The California Air Resources Board approved the Community Emissions Reduction Program for the Portside Community in San Diego. This is the first local plan brought forward by the San Diego Air Pollution Control District. Across California, the Board has approved 11 local plansdeveloped under Assembly Bill 617.
“Long-standing incompatible land uses in the Portside Community have resulted in an increase in air pollution that burdens thousands of residents every day,” said CARB’s Deldi Reyes, Director of the Office of Community Air Protection. “The development of this plan was an opportunity to gain real commitments from land use agencies to realize air quality benefits and reduce exposures through strategies such as improved community planning, transportation planning, increased green space, indoor air filtration, and enforcement of truck routes.”
In 2018, the Board approved 10 initial communities to develop and implement community emissions reductions programs, community air monitoring plans or both. The Portside Environmental Justice Neighborhood in San Diego was selected for a community air monitoring plan and transitioned in 2019 to the development of a Community Emissions Reduction Program.
Guided by the Community Air Protection Blueprint, the San Diego Air Pollution Control District convened a 26-member community steering committee to develop the plan. The committee includes 13 local residents, local community-based environmental justice organizations, land-use and transportation planning agencies, cities, and other stakeholders. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, the steering committee met regularly between January 2020 and June 2021. The air district’s governing board adopted the final plan on July 16, 2021.
The plan focuses on reducing emissions and exposure to smog-forming and other pollution including oxides of nitrogen, and reactive organic gases. In addition to land use strategies, it also focuses on reducing fine particulate matter in diesel exhaust from a variety of local sources, including heavy-duty trucks and passenger vehicles, working waterfront equipment and related activities in the Portside Community.
The air district estimates that projects in the plan funded by Community Air Protection incentives to help clean up sources such as off-road equipment, on-road trucks, and marine vessels will result in a reduction of hundreds of tons of NOx or reactive organic gases, and dozens of tons of fine particle pollution in the region.
Additionally, CARB statewide measures focused on cleaning up trucks, cars, and ocean-going vessels at berth will directly benefit the Portside Community, with additional estimated reductions of:
- NOx by 157 tons in 2025 and by 210 tons in 2030;
- Reactive organic gases by 28 tons in 2025 and by 88 tons in 2030;
- Fine particle pollution by 2.06 tons in 2025 and by 4.68 tons in 2030;
- Diesel particulate matter by 2.12 tons in 2025 and by 2.79 tons in 2030.
In approving the plan, the Board directed CARB staff, the air district, and the community steering committee to begin implementing the plan immediately.
Community Air Protection Program
To address the requirements of AB 617 (C. Garcia, 2017), CARB created the Office of Community Air Protection to ensure the reduction of exposure and emissions of criteria air pollutants and toxic air contaminants in the most vulnerable areas of the State. OCAP staff serving as community liaisons participate in the community steering committees and provide guidance in the development of the community emissions reduction programs statewide. CARB developed online tools such as the Community Air Protection Program Resource Center for communities statewide to obtain data, guidance, and tools to support improving air quality at the community level.
Generally, reduction strategies in community emissions reduction programs throughout the state target emissions for pollutants from sources of concern that are identified in collaboration with community residents. Successful implementation of the strategies requires strong partnerships within the community steering committee and focused coordination between CARB, the local air district, and state and local land use and transportation agencies. The Blueprint has identified emissions and exposure reduction approaches that all community emissions reduction programs may draw from to ensure a comprehensive and rigorous evaluation of potential reductions strategies, including regulations, enforcement, incentives, and mitigation strategies.
CARB continues its statewide efforts to implement AB 617 to achieve emissions reductions in communities disproportionately impacted by poor air quality.
These efforts include: