California Community Air Protection Program coverage broadened

The California Air Resources Board approved adding two new communities for the Community Air Protection Program to continue the statewide fight to clean the air, especially in communities overburdened with air pollution as mandated under [California] Assembly Bill 617.

Members of the Board selected two communities recommended by CARB staff for the fifth year of the program: the Bayview Hunters Point/Southeast San Francisco Community in the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (Bay Area AQMD), and the Westmorland, Brawley and Calipatria Community, also referred to as the North Imperial Phase 1 Community, in the Imperial County Air Pollution Control District (Imperial County APCD). The Bayview Hunters Point/Southeast San Francisco Community will develop a Community Emissions Reduction Program (CERP), and the North Imperial Phase 1 Community will develop both a Community Air Monitoring program (CAMP) and CERP.

“Air pollution represents an everyday health threat for these communities. The selection of communities like these is key to supporting on-the-ground efforts to reduce exposure and protect public health,” said CARB’s Chief of the Community Planning Branch Femi Olaluwoye. “The additional support provided by AB 617, with the cooperation of CARB, the Air Districts and other stakeholders, will allow community members to guide the development of strategies to combat air pollution at the neighborhood level and provide a healthier future for all residents.”

Under the Community Air Protection Program, which was established by CARB in response to Assembly Bill 617, community members work with local air districts to conduct air monitoring and prepare CERPs. These include a mix of strategies to reduce air pollution or exposure at the community level, including new regulations, targeted incentive funding, enhanced enforcement, and coordinating efforts with other agencies based on community priorities.

For Bayview Hunters Point/Southeast San Francisco, the Community Steering Committee that forms will have additional tools to help address emissions from industrial facilities including organic recovery and waste, concrete batch plants, a federally designated Superfund site, major freeways and the nearby Port of San Francisco. For years, residents of Bayview Hunters Point have been especially concerned about legacy pollution from the Naval Shipyard, dust and asbestos from ongoing large-scale redevelopment, odors and emissions from a wastewater treatment facility, diesel truck idling, and emissions from industrial rendering plants.

For the North Imperial Phase 1 Community, the Community Steering Committee will have new tools to be able to work on reducing and regulating heavy-duty vehicles, agriculture equipment and practices, unpaved roads, the Salton Sea, and fugitive emissions from the U.S.-Mexico border. The North End Imperial Phase 1 Community will benefit from Imperial County APCD’s work with the existing Calexico, El Centro and Heber AB 617 Community.

2023 California AB 617 Communities
Statewide Efforts to Benefit All Communities

CARB continues statewide efforts to achieve emissions reductions and build capacity in all communities while learning from what is working in the unique communities in the program. These efforts include a new air quality video series, produced with the support of the California Air Pollution Control Officers Association, available to use by all California residents. The first three of the nine-part video series focus on agency roles, emission types and health effects of air pollution. Additional videos covering topics such as where emissions come from; how air pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions are measured, tracked and controlled; standards for safe air quality; and how you can help make your community’s air cleaner will be available in early 2024.

“Two more environmentally overburdened California communities added to statewide Community Air Protection Program,” Feb. 23, 2023 CalEPA Air Resources Board press release.

Corresponding, connected home-page-entry image: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)