Category: News

New campaign to ‘unmask’ Fresno, cut air pollution. ‘We are the canary in the coal mine’

New campaign to ‘unmask’ Fresno, cut air pollution. ‘We are the canary in the coal mine’

The push for better air quality in the San Joaquin Valley has a new team of advocates – doctors – who are taking a more active role in demanding clean air for the region.

The Central California Asthma Collaborative has partnered with Unmask My City, a global air pollution initiative, with health professionals at the forefront of calling for change.

Fresno is the first city in California to join the initiative, said Jeni Miller, executive director of The Global Climate and Health Alliance, during a news conference Wednesday outside a Boys & Girls Club in southeast Fresno.

The new Unmask Fresno partnership comes at a key time for air quality advocacy in Fresno. The city was selected to receive more funds through the passage of Assembly Bill 617 in 2017, aiming to help communities most impacted by air pollution.

Read more at: https://www.fresnobee.com/news/local/article227673749.html?fbclid=IwAR33Omy_7VTfbsZtXpNPLBa0fWtXrSxMEHFvdaPGEOP6XBcQev76O-uoId4 

Undeserved Credit: Shining a light on pollution systems in the Golden State

Undeserved Credit: Shining a light on pollution systems in the Golden State

In the age of climate change, some governments have set ambitious goals to reduce pollution from fossil fuels. In the US, California leads the way with plans to cut the state’s greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050. Getting there will be challenging, and virtually every source of pollution will need to be examined.

With this in mind, Earthworks took an in-depth look at the San Joaquin Valley Air District’s emission reduction credit (ERC) bank. The credits in these banks represent quantities of greenhouse gases, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and other pollutants. Companies wishing to build or expand operations that will pollute beyond legal limits can first secure ERCs—which are “banked” when pollution from another source is reduced.

Launched nationwide as part of the US Clean Air Act in the late 1970s, ERCs were viewed as a way to incentivize industries to curtail pollution. Today, the ERC approach (just like its sister, cap-and-trade) is under scrutiny for being insufficient given current pollution challenges, and for worseningenvironmental injustice.

Earthworks’ report, Undeserved Creditdocuments significant problems with the San Joaquin ERC system—leading us to conclude that it’s likely to be having an unintended, negative impact on air quality.

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California pollution: Latinos, blacks breathe 40 percent more pollution than whites in California, study says

California pollution: Latinos, blacks breathe 40 percent more pollution than whites in California, study says

Latinos and African-Americans breathe about 40 percent more pollution than white people do in California, a new study has found.Wednesday, February 6th, 2019LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Latinos and African-Americans breathe about 40 percent more pollution than white people do in California, a new study has found. 

The analysis was released Tuesday by the Union of Concerned Scientists. 

Scientists say that’s because communities most affected by air pollution also tend to be neighborhoods with a higher percentage of black and Latino residents. 

Across the entire state, central Bakersfield was found to be the area with the most pollution from cars, trucks and buses, according to the study. 

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Senate Bill 210 by Senator Connie Leyva Aims to Cut Toxic Diesel Emissions from Polluting Big-Rigs

Senate Bill 210 by Senator Connie Leyva Aims to Cut Toxic Diesel Emissions from Polluting Big-Rigs

With the introduction today of legislation by Senator Connie Leyva (D-Chino) the California Legislature was presented with the opportunity to prevent thousands of tons of harmful pollutants emitted into our air by heavy-duty diesel trucks.

The measure, SB 210, establishes emissions-control inspection and maintenance requirements for diesel trucks weighing more than 14,000 pounds, bringing the hundreds of thousands of these big-rigs on California’s roads closer in line with the smog-check requirements imposed on passenger vehicles since 1984.

“Diesel exhaust is particularly nasty stuff, and it’s long past time for polluting trucks to face the kind of inspection requirements that car owners have,” said Bill Magavern, Policy Director for Coalition for Clean Air.

About one million heavy-duty diesels trucks operate in California annually. Together, they contribute nearly 60 percent of NOx and more than 80 percent of diesel particulate matter (PM 2.5) emitted in California from all on-road sources. Diesel exhaust contains more than 40 known cancer-causing organic substances and gaseous pollutants, including volatile organic compounds and oxides of nitrogen (NOx), a key ingredient in ground-level ozone otherwise known as smog.

More than 12 million Californians breathe air that fails to meet federal clean-air standards. Eight of the nation’s most polluted cities are in California.  Diesel engines bear a truckload of the blame. Elevated exposure to ozone and PM2.5 leads to increased hospitalizations, chronic lung and heart disease and premature deaths.

“Californians face the most significant air pollution burdens in the United States,” said Will Barrett, Clean Air Advocacy Director with the American Lung Association in California. “The need for a comprehensive program to deal with one of our largest sources of harmful pollution is obvious when you see this gap in our pollution controls.”

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) estimates that the passage of SB 210 would prevent the release of 93,000 tons of NOx between 2023 and 2031 – the equivalent of taking 145,000 heavy-duty diesels off the road – and avert the release of 1,600 tons of PM2.5, equal to parking 375,000 big-rigs.

CARB recently passed improvements to its current visual and self-reporting emission-testing programs, but compliance and enforcement are spotty at best. CARB estimates that more than one-third of the heavy duty diesels on our roads and highways are out of compliance with state emissions regulations.

It will take a comprehensive smog check-like program for heavy-duty diesel as envisioned in SB 210 to bring relief to those living in communities suffering from ozone and PM pollution – especially low-income and disadvantaged communities.

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Does new air pollution plan make Valley a safer place to live? Don’t hold your breath

Does new air pollution plan make Valley a safer place to live? Don’t hold your breath

At the start of last week’s California Air Resources Board meeting at the Grand 1401 in downtown Fresno, Alex Sherriffs encouraged his fellow board members to step out onto the 10th floor balcony and take in the majestic view.

Great idea, except for one tiny detail: The snow-capped Sierra Nevadas could barely be seen through the haze and smog — even though it had been only four days since the last storm.

Three hours later, the state air board unanimously approved a plan designed to help the Valley meet four federal health standards for fine particulate matter – called PM2.5s – generated by cars and trucks, industrial equipment, wood burning and dust.

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