CARB approves first emissions reduction plans for two San Joaquin Valley communities
For immediate release
SACRAMENTO – The California Air Resources Board has approved the first Community Emissions Reduction Programs in the San Joaquin Valley under Assembly Bill 617. The two communities that are the focus of these programs – South Central Fresno and Shafter – are located in areas of the state that are heavily impacted by high levels of air pollution. AB 617 requires community-driven action to identify, monitor and reduce air pollutants of specific concern to each location.
Prior to the vote on Thursday evening, members of the Board toured neighborhoods of the Central Valley to witness firsthand the many sources of air pollution that contribute to some of the state’s worst air quality.
“These two emission reduction plans are only the beginning of the focused efforts to cut air pollution in the communities of Shafter and South Fresno,” said CARB Executive Officer Richard Corey. “The next step is turning the plans into actions on the ground. CARB stands ready to work with the communities, air district and others to provide continued support and rigorous oversight to make sure the plans adopted today deliver on their promise of healthier air for all.”
The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District convened community steering committees made up of community residents, local businesses, air district representatives and other stakeholders to develop the specific emission reduction strategies included in each of the two programs.
The Fresno and Shafter steering committees each met regularly between December 2018 and January 2020 to craft the programs that focus on reducing exposure to fine particulate matter, toxic air contaminants, and smog-forming chemicals within their communities.
“We applaud the action taken by the California Air Resources Board to approve the Community Emission Reduction Programs for the communities of Shafter and South Central Fresno,” stated Samir Sheikh Executive Director/Air Pollution Control Officer of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. “We look forward to working closely with these communities to reduce air pollution and improve quality of life for community residents.”
To address the requirements of AB 617 (C. Garcia, 2017) CARB developed the Office of Community Air Protection (OCAP). Its role in supporting the development of the community programs is to coordinate the overall process, and to provide input, training and the equipment to monitor and report on air pollutants.
- Passenger cars
- Residential energy use
- Urban sources
- Heavy-duty trucks
- Industrial and agricultural sources including pesticides
- Oil and gas operations
- Fugitive dust
Coordination with Other Agencies
Successful implementation of many of the strategies included in the programs will take focused coordination between multiple public agencies. This includes the Department of Pesticide Regulation to reduce pesticide exposure, and agencies involved in cutting emissions from heavy-duty truck traffic, among other sources of air pollution. Those include CARB, the local air district, and other state and local agencies.
The Board committed to a follow-up meeting in Fresno in six months to review recommended actions and additional elements as the two communities move into the implementation phase of the plans.
The adoption of the latest two community programs comes on the heels of the adoption of two others: in El Centro in January, and West Oakland in December. Six additional plans are in process and will be considered for adoption by CARB in the coming months. This includes meetings for Sacramento and Los Angeles.
Related Community Action Efforts
CARB continues its statewide efforts to achieve emissions reductions in all communities, including those without steering committees currently involved in developing new community air plans.
These efforts include:
- Community Air Grants Program
- Community Air Protection Funds
- Other statewide efforts and databases to support the development of community-focused strategies include the Advanced Clean Trucks Regulation and Community Air Quality Portal