On June 13, 2018, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) hosted a community meeting in South Gate Park in South Gate to discuss the implementation of Assembly Bill (AB) 617. The law is designed to improve air quality in disadvantaged communities that are burdened by air pollution. These efforts will be overseen by the California Air Resources Board (CARB).
SCAQMD panel members Judith Mitchell, Jill Whynot, Jo Kay Ghosh, Philip Fine, and Megan Lorenz began the meeting with an overview of AB 617. The goal of the legislation is to engage with communities at the local level, much like the collaboration that developed between the City of Paramount, SCAQMD, and CARB.
The key elements of AB 617 are community air monitoring, plans for emissions reduction, easier access to emissions data, and clean technology investments. CARB will select five to ten communities in the state for the first year of the pilot program; more communities will be added every year.
Currently, SCAQMD is in the process of evaluating the most comprehensive and effective data sources to inform the pilot program. Examples of these sources include SCAQMD’s Multiple Air Toxics Exposure Study (MATES) IV and CalEnviroScreen results courtesy of the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA).
During the community meeting, attendees gathered into groups to discuss the two data sources, as well as other desired screening criteria. Many groups suggested potential factors to consider should include: schools located near industrial areas and/or freeways; inadequate government representation; and past or existing air monitoring programs.
SCAQMD intends to provide a final report of program criteria recommendations to CARB in July 2018. CARB is targeting September 2018 for final selection of the first communities to participate.
Learn more about AB 617 at www.aqmd.gov/ab617.