SoCal News: Air Quality Plans Move Forward, with Concerns Raised

Monday, September 16, 2019

 

On September 6, more than 200 participants attended the South Coast Air Quality and Monitoring District (SCAQMD) board meeting, focused on the adoption of the AB 617 Community Emissions Reduction Plans (CERP). The CERPs lay out the agency’s plans for how to reduce pollution and mitigate its impacts on residents.  Three community CERPs were up for a vote: Muscoy/San Bernardino, Wilmington/Carson/West Long Beach, and East LA/Boyle Heights/West Commerce. Some of our comments were incorporated into the draft, but still feel that more remains to be done.


Several community members and environmental justice groups shared concerns around the process’ effectiveness in addressing and including insights from residents. Muscoy stakeholders, for example, were concerned that the incentive program will allow natural gas and near-zero-emissions trucks to participate, and that the plan does not restrict truck routes away from schools and homes. The Safe Routes Partnership and the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice raised concerns at the meeting that the nitrogen oxide (NOx) reduction rates planned for 20 percent over 10 years, which is not aggressive enough. 


Even so, the board unanimously voted in favor to approve all of the three plans without changes. We did thank the staff for collaborating with the community in meetings leading up to the board consideration, but we will be looking for opportunities to implement stronger aspects on the plan. The board also discussed sites for the second year of AB617, and we were pleased to support Eastern Coachella Valley communities Indio, Thermal, Oasis, Mecca and North Shore.