CENTRAL VALLEY – The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District is not being shy when it comes to the daunting task of cleaning up the air in the Central Valley. They have known for quite some time it will take regulations, compliance and most of all money to get the job done. Fortunately the District has accepted $88.4 million from the California Air Resource Board (CARB) from Cap and Trade funds.
According to a press release from the District the funds will be used for projects located in or benefiting the Valley’s disadvantaged and low-income communities. The funds will also support the District’s implementation of Assembly Bill 617, which requires the state Air Resources Board and air district to come up with additional plans to report, monitor and reduce emissions.
$80 million of the $88.4 million will support programs that reduce emissions. The same report uses the example of the District’s Heavy-Duty Engine Program which includes Carl Moyer Memorial Air Quality Standards Attainment Program projects. Those programs provide incentive funds to help farmers, truck drivers and businesses that have heavy-duty trucks, heavy-duty diesel equipment and school buses to cover costs associated with buying products with engines that utilize reduced emission technology.
For example the Exeter Unified School District and other school districts have benefited from similar funds meant to purchase natural gas vehicles. While they do not employ an entire fleet, they do have hybrid cars, Gators and busses.
The remaining $8.4 million will be used by the District to comply with AB 617. New mandates include additional emissions reporting, more air pollution monitoring, establishing new air monitoring shelters, extra emissions reduction plan requirements and measures, and identifying high priority locations for implementing community-level monitoring.
Valley residents and businesses within in the District will be asked for their input over project ideas and suggestions via surveys and community meetings.