Community Air Grant
The San Joaquin Valley is home to some of the worst air pollution in the nation. Through the Community Air Protection Program (CAPP), regional air districts and the California Air Resources Board are working with a dozen disadvantaged communities across the state, including three in the San Joaquin Valley, to implement additional emissions reporting, monitoring and air pollution reduction plans.
About this Project
California’s San Joaquin Valley (Valley) has historically been ground-zero for environmental, social and economic injustice. The Valley has the worst air quality in the nation. Air pollution is a serious health and economic threat, both of which are exacerbated in disadvantaged communities. Poor land-use planning, paired with social determinants of health, such as limited access to healthcare, language isolation and poverty, create barriers for community members to address health impacts and advocate for policy change.
In addition to the disproportionate health impacts of air pollution, disadvantaged communities face greater barriers to improving air quality, including lack of meaningful community engagement from agencies and lack of air quality monitoring in their communities. Assembly Bill 617 created the Community Air Protection Program (CAPP) to reduce air pollution exposure in the most burdened disadvantaged communities in the State. AB 617 seeks to ensure that all Californians benefit equitably from the State’s air quality and climate efforts, especially those living in the areas most severely impacted by air pollution and poverty.
In an effort to build the capacity of California communities to participate in developing and implementing AB 617 programs, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) created the Community Air Grants (CAG) program. The CAG program aims to provide support for community-based organizations (CBO) to participate in the AB 617 process and build capacity to become active partners with CARB and local air districts to identify, evaluate, and ultimately reduce air pollution in their communities.
CCAC’s Community Air Grant provides disadvantaged communities assistance in both understanding the sources and health impacts of local air pollution and assessing the community-level burden so residents can advocate for informed mitigation strategies. Here are some examples of the work CCAC and its’ grant partners are currently doing:
CCAC has been analyzing criteria and toxic air pollution sources in communities across the Valley to assess potential health risks associated with existing business practices (see example of HRA risk profile conducted by CCAC for Lodi CA). CCAC meets with air regulators to review their findings and determine the best available control technologies to reduce potentially harmful emissions. As a result, the local air district has formally conducted additional assessments of sources that may pose a health risk to the surrounding community.
CCAC and its partners have developed materials to educate community members and organizations about local sources of air pollution and the potential health risks they pose, as well as educating residents living in CAPP communities (South Fresno and Shafter) about how they can be involved in the development of a local, community air monitoring and emissions reduction plans.
CCAC and its partners established the San Joaquin Valley Environmental Justice (SJV EJ) Steering Committee. The SJV EJ Steering Committee includes leaders from 17 environmental and social justice organizations across the Valley. During monthly meetings, SJV EJ Steering Committee members discuss the ongoing AB 617 process in South Fresno and Shafter (e.g. review strategies included in the draft Emission Reduction Plans), as well as participate in the design and implementation of a Valley-wide, community-based air monitoring network. The Steering Committee also plays the lead role developing and reviewing community assessments for the nomination of future of CAPP communities in the Valley.
CCAC and its partners are in the process of implementing a Community Air Monitoring Network (SJVAIR) to collect and display real-time PM2.5 data in disadvantaged communities across the San Joaquin Valley. The network is focused on communities that are not located near an existing regulatory monitor and will provide easy access (website and text message alerts) to residents living in these underserved, predominantly rural communities. The network will also monitor ambient methane levels in select communities that are more heavily impacted by sources of air pollution associated with methane emissions.
Participating on CAPP Steering Committees
CCAC and its partners are members of the South Fresno, Shafter and Stockton Community Steering Committees. As Steering Committee members, CCAC actively participates with local residents, business owners and agency staff (local Air District and CARB) in the development of the local air monitoring and emissions reduction plans.