The California Air Resources Board takes testimony this week on the new state Community Emissions Reduction Program, established by Assembly Bill 617. The CARB board will decide whether to adopt their staff’s “blueprint,” and will set the communities receiving emissions reduction plans and requirements for the first year. Your important testimony could make all the difference between a weak, inequitable program and one that lives up to its promise.
- Ask the Board to include a longer list of communities receiving a Community Emission Reduction Plan, adding Richmond, East Oakland, Southeast Los Angeles, East Coachella, and others.
- Ask the Board to clean up oil refineries, implement zero emission transportation, address cumulative impacts from small stationary sources, and start a plan to Phase Down Oil Refineries.
What exactly is AB 617?
AB 617, the “Community Air Protection Act” was adopted in the summer of 2017 as a companion bill—and justification—for AB 398, which extended the much-protested state cap-and-trade program. This greenhouse gas trading program allows big polluters to pay to pollute, instead of directly cleaning up fossil fuels in impacted communities. AB 617, its intended antidote, is supposed to cut toxics and smog “co-pollutants.” These are emitted at the same time as greenhouse gases when fossil fuels are burned or evaporated in industry and transportation, especially in most impacted communities of color.
Now that AB 617 is in place, environmental justice organizations that first opposed it are working to get as much pollution cleanup as they can. Some 617 concepts do include important measures community members have long sought, such as community-level plans to cut cumulative stationary, transportation, and other emissions. But here’s the problem: only ten communities in the state are proposed to get any plan the first year, and only seven of these would get an emission reduction plan. (The rest get only air monitoring plans!) This is not enough: dozens of seriously impacted communities need such cleanup.
In the Bay Area, we’re very happy that West Oakland was chosen to receive an emission reduction plan. But East Oakland and Richmond were left out! And in southern California, Southeast Los Angeles was also passed over.
What do environmental justice groups want?
Community Selection – Add Community Emission Reduction Plan (CERP) for ► Richmond ► East Oakland ► Southeast LA.
- East Coachella is also seeking an emissions reduction plan. This is a rural community and coalition partner in the California Environmental Justice Alliance (CEJA), a part of the South Coast Air Basin. Heavily impacted rural communities frequently are left out of receiving enough monitoring and pollution reduction measures.
- The state list should include far more than seven communities for emissions plans. Dozens of communities needing cleanup throughout the state have sought emissions reduction plans.
State Blueprint – Need Oil Industry Requirements:
- Best Available Control Technology (BACT) for existing Refinery Catalytic Cracking units—to drastically reduce deadly particulate matter responsible for thousands of additional deaths.
- Replace massive, polluting old refinery boilers & heaters to meet Best Available Control Technology (BACT) standards.
- Stop expanding oil refineries.
- Develop a plan to phaseout oil refineries by 2050.
- 2,500-foot buffer zone between oil extraction sites and neighbors.
JOIN US ON AMTRAK! Capitol Corridor #522 to Sacramento: Oakland: 6:25; Emeryville: 6:34; Berkeley: 6:38; Richmond: 6:45; Martinez: 7:11; Sacramento: 8:25 AM