State presents first Bond 1B check to Valley to clean up air quality
MERCED – During a ceremony today at a Technology Forum held at UC Merced, California EPA Undersecretary Cindy Tuck presented a $5.6 million check to the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District to clean up hundreds of older, dirty diesel truck engines currently polluting Valley air.
The air district will use the funding to retrofit somewhere between 100 to 300 trucks with diesel particulate filters and completely replace the engines of an additional 70 to 100 trucks. Diesel pollution from trucks transiting major roadways, such as Interstate 5 and Highway 99, accounts for 80 percent of the Valley's smog forming and particulate matter emissions.
The truck fleet cleanups precede a draft regulation that the Air Resources Board will vote on in October that, if passed, will require truckers to retrofit pre-2007 model year trucks with soot filters and then requires a gradual modernization of trucks beginning in 2012, so that ultimately all trucks are the cleanest, 2010 or newer models. Over the past decade, ARB has also passed a series of landmark regulations aimed at slashing diesel emissions from ships, off-road construction equipment and other sources.
"This first check under Proposition 1B is going exactly where it's needed most -- to fund the retrofits and replacements of older, dirty diesel trucks that pollute Valley air," Tuck said. "This funding, combined with the opportunities that will grow out of today's technololgy forum, will continue our momentum in improving air quality in California."
"The Valley faces tremendous air quality challenges, and we appreciate this unprecedented support from the state which will result in a real reduction in emissions and a better quality of life for valley residents," said Seyed Sadredin, San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control Officer.
ARB will allocate an additional $40.5 million to the San Joaquin air district for other diesel emissions reduction projects in the coming year.
ARB and California EPA also signed a memorandum of agreement today with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and San Joaquin and South Coast air districts, committing to work together on identifying and promoting emerging technologies to improve air quality throughout the state.
Southern California and the Central Valley continue to suffer from some of the worst air quality in the nation. Emissions from diesel particulate matter are associated with causing a variety of health effects including premature death and a number of heart and lung diseases.
The check constitutes the first funding handed out using Proposition 1B funds, which was the transportation bond put on the ballot by the Legislature and before the voters in November 2006. The 2007-08 Budget, signed by Governor Schwarzenegger in August, funds the initial $250 million of the $1 billion set aside for air quality improvement projects in Proposition 1B.
The Board is focused on funding projects that reduce emissions and health risk, incorporate simplicity and efficiency, ensure cost-effectiveness, and leverage other funding source. Go to www.arb.ca.gov/diesel/diesel.htm/ for application criteria.