April 2017: Blog – Businesses Leaping to Lead on Climate Action
April 2017: Blog – Business Will Lead on Climate Action
February 2017: Blog – Sustaining our Clean Air Progress
February 2017: CAP Newsletter
December 2016: CAP Newsletter
December 2016: Blog – Cleaner Air Partnership, 2016 ReCAP
December 2016: Blog – Air Quality, Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities
October 2016: Blog – Advocate for Clean Air Support Measure B
September 30, 2016: CAP Newsletter
September 2016: Blog – At the Intersection of Air Quality and Health
September 9, 2016: CAP Newsletter
August 2016: CAP Newsletter
July 2016: CAP Newsletter – Wildfire Edition
June 2016: Blog – Local School Buses to go Electric
June 2016: Blog – Air Quality and Economic Growth?
April 2016: Blog – Clean Air in the Capital
April 2016: CAP Newsletter
March 2016: Blog – How do we Grow from Here?
January 2016: Blog – Air Quality and Climate Action, In Review and Yet to Come
January 2016: CAP Newsletter
November 2015: CAP Newsletter
October 2015:CAP Newsflash: EPA Sets New Ozone Standard
October 2015:CAP Newsletter
September 2015: Blog – Cycling as the Ultimate Clean Air Commute
September 2015:CAP Newsletter
August 2015: CAP Newsletter
May 2015: CAP Newsletter
Attend the Cleaner Air Partnership Quarterly Luncheon – April 10, 2015 Business Resiliency – A Key to Sustaining Regional Economic Vitality 3/24/2015
Learn more about a new initiative that aims to better prepare the Sacramento region’s small businesses in the face of extreme weather events. Natural disasters are increasing in frequency and severity. The Sacramento Region has experienced drought, wildfire, and risk of severe winter storms all within the constrained timeframe in 2014. Assuring our businesses are resilient through climate and weather-related events is essential to the region’s economy and wellbeing.
You don’t want to miss this opportunity to gather with representatives from business, local government, health and environmental communities to hear more about this important topic.
Date: April 10, 2015, 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM Location: USC State Capital Center, 1800 I Street, Sacramento, CA 95811 Speakers include:
- Larry Greene, Chair, Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative Steering Committee, will share why this topic is important to the Sacramento region’s air quality goals.
- Meg Arnold, Project Leader, Valley Vision, will present an overview of the Business Resiliency Initiative.
- Bobbin Mulvaney, Restaurateur, Mulvaney’s B&L Restaurant, will speak to actions they have taken as a small business to adjust to the impacts of extreme weather events.
- Malinda Matson, Economic Development Representative for Northern and Coastal California at US Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration, will share key learnings with natural disasters throughout the nation.
Click here to RSVP!
Check Before You Burn Season Has Arrived Wood smoke causes adverse health conditions 12/17/2014 Wood smoke, typically from wood stoves and fireplaces, causes almost 50 percent of the region’s wintertime pollution and contains fine particles (PM 2.5) that can damage lungs, especially in young children and older adults. Kids are particularly vulnerable because their respiratory systems are still developing and they breathe more air per pound of their body weight. On days when fine particle pollution is forecast to be high, burn restrictions – voluntary or otherwise – will be communicated by the local air quality management districts. Wood burning restriction programs are necessary both to reduce risks to our health and to continue to meet the federal government’s rules for particulate matter. The Sacramento region narrowly met the federal air standards for soot, or fine particulate matter (PM 2.5), and the Environmental Protection Agency recently designated the region’s air quality as meeting the federal coarse particulate (PM10) 24-hour standard, primarily due to efforts throughout the region to reduce wood smoke in the winter season. “This announcement demonstrates that there has been continued air quality improvement in the Sacramento region over the last decade,” said Congresswoman Doris Matsui. “We all desire clean air for our friends, our family and ourselves. Clean air is essential to being a vibrant, economically successful region. Thanks to the tireless efforts of the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District, the Sacramento Area Council of Governments, Breathe California and the Cleaner Air Partnership, we continue to provide greater protection to our public health and improve our environment.” See below for links to local information about how you can help the region stay in compliance with the federal air standards: Check Before You Burn Season: Nov 1, 2014 to Feb 28, 2015
- Sacramento County – Check Before You Burn (Mandatory)
- Yolo & Solano Counties – Don’t Light Tonight (Voluntary)
- Yuba & Sutter Counties -Don’t Light Tonight (Voluntary)
Reduce Energy, Save Money, Pollute Less Quarterly Luncheon speakers highlighted solutions to reduce energy consumption 11/26/2013 The final Cleaner Air Partnership luncheon for the year, sponsored by Pacific Gas and Electric, featured informative speakers and lively discussion regarding techniques to reduce energy consumption and their associated emissions. Jim Tischer, a program director for the Center for Irrigation Technology at California State University, Fresno, shared an overview of their research effort to improve water-pumping efficiency and the intersection with sustainable economics, air quality, transportation and growth. Moving and treating water accounts for 20% of California’s energy use, compared with 3-5% in other states, Jim said. Techniques to improve water conservation in farming, such as drip irrigation and more efficient pumps, not only reduces water costs, but it reduces the energy and associated emissions with transporting and treating water. PG&E has invested in the Drip Irrigation Pilot Program and other efforts through these water centers as they understand the critical importance of water conservation to support energy efficiency goals. Joe Liviach provided an overview of the Ygrene Clean Energy Yolo program. Clean Energy Yolo offers 100% Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing, with no upfront costs, for energy efficiency or renewable energy-producing improvements that are permanently affixed to the property. Drip irrigation systems, instantaneous hot-water heaters, and solar heating are among the 62 eligible improvements for residential and commercial property owners, reported Joe. Loans are paid in five, ten or 15 year periods via property taxes. In the 10 days Clean Energy Yolo program has been open, energy efficiency applications totaling over $3 million have been submitted. The meeting concluded with an update regarding the importance of access to broadband, or high-speed Internet, as a pollution-fighting strategy. Tara Thronson, Project Lead with the Connected Capital Area Broadband Consortium (CCABC), shared areas where a broadband connection can reduce carbon emissions, including soil moisture sensors that help farmers reduce water usage and the associated energy usage while increasing crop production, reduction in vehicle miles traveled through telecommuting and use of telemedicine, and implementation of the “smart grid” where through two-way communications the electric grid can better manage energy demand and the integration of renewable energy sources. “Studies estimate the Smart Grid can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation by as much as 12% by 2030,” Tara said. “That is the equivalent of removing 65 million cars from the road.” The CCABC is working to increase digital access and use in Sacramento, Sutter, Yolo and Yuba Counties.
Incentive Funding Extended to Help Clean the Air 2013 State legislative recap 10/29/2013 The 2013 California legislative session concluded in October with important air quality bills becoming State law. Assembly Bill 8 by Assemblyman Henry Perea (D-Fresno) extends until 2024 the existing $3 vehicle registration fees that were scheduled to expire in 2016. This fee supports state technology and incentive programs that help private businesses and public agencies voluntarily clean up older, dirtier vehicles and mobile off-road engines through retrofit or replacement. Additionally it requires the California Energy Commission to spend as much as $220 million in vehicle registration fee revenues over the next decade to fund the development of up to 100 hydrogen-fueling stations. Comprehensive reform of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) was a focus of the legislature this session, and while a complete overhaul wasn’t achieved, Senate Bill 743 by Senator Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) streamlined portions of CEQA. SB 743 expands CEQA’s specific plan exemption to include residential projects and mixed use and employment center projects in transit priority area, which may help remove barriers to infill development. It requires these projects to comply with local plans that have undergone an environmental impact report and must be consistent with regions’ sustainable communities strategies. The bill also modifies the “Level of Service” (LOS) requirement. Previously LOS was the primary mode of analyzing transportation impacts of a project, and it focused on reducing traffic delays, where expanding roads was often the easiest solution. The bill directs the Office of Planning and Research to recommend a new approach to analyzing transportation impacts under CEQA – one that focuses more on the environmental impacts of driving, such as air pollution, noise, and unsafe streets. Senate Bill 359 by Senator Ellen Corbett (D-Hayward) helps clean the air by providing incentive funding for clean vehicle projects including the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project and the Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project, the Heavy-Duty Vehicle Air Quality Loan Program, and the enhanced fleet modernization program. Get Involved:
Building a Resilient Sacramento Region 9/18/2013 Local leaders gathered to learn more about efforts in the Sacramento region to prepare businesses and local governments for the impacts of extreme weather patterns. Presenters at the Sacramento Regional Adaptation Collaborative Stakeholder Meeting highlighted trends that may negatively impact the region’s electric grid, flood readiness, public health, and exacerbate vulnerabilities to the agriculture industry. The Sacramento Municipal Utilities District (SMUD) shared findings from their Climate Readiness Report and trends they are monitoring. They found that California heat waves are changing, often including evening heat waves that don’t offer relief to electric grid demand. SMUD’s Upper American River Project (UARP), generates enough electricity to meet about 20 percent of SMUD’s customer demand. In a normal water year, the UARP provides enough energy to power about 180,000 homes. This low-cost source of power is vulnerable to the reduced snow and rainfall trends. Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) found the impacts of climate change to be more localized, such as a nine percent warming trend since the 1970’s in nighttime minimums in some of the northern parts of the state. Their research noted less precipitation runoff, which negatively impacts groundwater recharge, adding risk to one of the largest hydroelectric sources. The July 2006 heat wave was an unprecedented deadly event resulting in roughly 600 deaths, 100 of which were in the Sacramento region and over 50% were in high poverty areas. Extended heat waves increase risk of “bad air days” and negative health impacts associated with high ozone levels. Greater risks to catastrophic wildfires negatively impact the forest health, the economy, and leads to unhealthy smoke-filled air. Kathy Dervin from the California Department of Public Health raised the question, “Who is vulnerable to these extreme weather changes, and what do we need to do to protect people and promote health?” She reported statistics citing that 2012 was the hottest year on record in the U.S. resulting in droughts, severe wildfires, and Hurricane Sandy, which took the top five hospitals in the area out of operation for as long as five months. “We need to think about how we keep the Agriculture industry in business,” remarked Louise Jackson, Professor of UC Davis Department Of Land, Air And Water Resources. “California has the highest agriculture crop value in the U.S. and is the only state producing commercial quantities of specialty crops such as almonds, artichokes, figs, raisins, and walnuts.” Speakers also encouraged focusing efforts in relation to bottom line: Are you prepared for an inconsistent water supply? How will your crops perform in drought years? How will you know it will be a drought year? The event host, Resilient Sacramento, is a new collaborative effort positioned to help organizations in the Sacramento region build “resilience” and readiness planning in known and emerging critical areas such as flood control, public health, fire response, energy supplies, economic development, and agriculture. The Resilient Sacramento network will help leaders from government, academia, environmental and community groups, the business community, and labor work together to create stronger, sustainable, and economically viable communities in the Sacramento region. Get Involved: View event presentations here
Local Partnerships Result in Cleaner Air, Renewable Fuel and Compost 9/18/2013 The Cleaner Air Partnership’s September Luncheon focused on the Farm-to-Fork-to-Fuel-to-Farm movement: converting food waste into valuable products, such as fuel, compost and renewable energy. In California, 25 percent- more than 6 million tonsper year — of all landfill waste is food and agricultural waste that could be used to make enough renewable biogas to power 500,000 homes. Landfilled organic waste produces greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) that are 23 times more harmful than emissions from automobiles. Roger Niello, President and CEO of the Sacramento Metro Chamber, provided an overview of the region’s Next Economy Regional Prosperity Plan. The plan is focused on strategies to increase new investment and job growth in the Capital Region by supporting the region’s core business clusters including the Agriculture & Food and Clean Energy Technology clusters. Roger remarked, “The Farm-to-Fork-to-Fuel movement is an image enhancer which draws tourists, increases agriculture exports, and supports the clean energy cluster.” Meeting participants heard from Shawn Garvey, Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs at CleanWorld. Using technology developed at U.C. Davis, CleanWorld is the North American leader in commercializing anaerobic digestion technologies to divert food waste and its associated emissions from landfills and create valuable byproducts including the only commercially available transportation fuel that earns a “negative carbon intensity” rating from the California Air Resources Board. Shawn’s key messages were: 1. If the US stopped land-filling organic wastes and instead relied on composting and anaerobic digestion, we would permanently end the import of soil and fertilizer for our nation’s farms 2. A single ton of food waste can produce enough electricity to…
- Run your laptop for 6,000 hours
- Watch your television for 1,500 hours
- Charge your cell phone 83,000 times
3. Sacramento has the most High Solid Anaerobic Digestion capacity of any community in the United States When asked “why Sacramento” Shawn advised it was due to the supportive partners such as the city, county, air district, utilities, CalRecycle and local businesses. “In some cases our permitting took only two to three months,” Shawn remarked,” where in other locations in the nation the same permitting process can take up to two years.” Meeting attendees also heard from Dr. Val Tiangco, Biomass Program Lead for SMUD’s Energy Research & Development Department. He provided an update on SMUD’s aggressive renewable energy goals that they seek to meet in an affordable, reliable, and sustainable way. Dr. Tiangco reported that the company is on track to become the first California utility to receive 20 percent of its energy from renewable resources, 61 percent of which is sourced from biomass.
Conference Highlights Safety, Health and Air Benefits of Safe Routes to School Programs Local documentary featured at event 8/29/2013 Over 600 leaders from around the country gathered in Sacramento for the fourth Safe Routes to School National Conference, hosted by the Local Government Commission in partnership with the National Center for Safe Routes to School. Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs are sustained efforts by parents, schools, community leaders and local, state, and federal governments to improve the health and well-being of children by enabling and encouraging them to walk and bicycle to schools. Speakers shared examples and studies that demonstrate the improved health outcomes, school performance, and air quality as well as crime, collision and injury reductions associated with SRTS interventions. Congresswoman Doris Matsui spoke to the conference about the Safe Streets Act 2013 legislation she introduced this session, which would encourage safer streets through Complete Streets policy adoption at the state and local level. Complete Streets are designed with all users in mind. “Cities have taken the lead,” shared Congresswoman Matsui, “we need to do the same thing in the Federal Government.” Participants also heard from a Sacramento State filmmaker who made the 58th and Fruitridge documentary that tells the story of a 16-year-old student at West Campus High School in South Sacramento that was fatally hit by a car at a crosswalk near the school, bringing a sobering reminder of the safety benefit of Safe Routes to School Programs. The conference also highlighted resources to use when developing local SRTS programs, including the Transportation Injury Mapping System (TIMS), which maps all traffic collisions in California. It also offers a cost-benefit analysis calculator to help identify the most cost-effective street improvements. Get Involved: Click here to learn more about Safe Routes to School
State and Local Leaders gain a Hands-on View of Forest Management Practices that Combat Pollution 8/29/2013 An impressive group of officials from the U.S. Forest Service, local air districts, US EPA, the California Air Resources Board, the California Public Utilities Commission, U.C. Berkeley, PG&E, CalFire, Cal EPA and other organizations gathered at the U.C. Berkeley Blodgett Forest Research Station in the El Dorado National Forest to to learn firsthand about research on the benefits of catastrophic wildfire prevention and use of forest biomass for energy production. The meeting came on day ten of the American River fire near Foresthill that had already burned 16,000 acres, cost $10 million in fire suppression, harmed air quality, and threatened a key California watershed. California’s forests provide more than 60% of the state’s water supply. U.C. faculty and students at the Blodgett Forest Research Station, located in the northern Sierra Nevada east of Georgetown, are conducting long-term research to better inform forest management decision-making. Many of their research projects are focused on reducing fire severity and preparing forests for the impacts of climate change, such as extended drought seasons. Catastrophic wildfires are dangerous for fire-fighting personnel, pollute the air and damage watersheds and habitat. Costs to suppress them often run into the tens of millions of dollars with correspondingly high ecosystem restoration costs. Additionally, forests damaged by severe fires are converting to shrub and grasslands, removing their ability to safely trap or “sequester” carbon in trees instead of the atmosphere. Forest land managers “treat” forests to improve the growth and health of the trees and to reduce unnatural fuel accumulation. The U.S. Forest service in California is responsible for managing more than 20 million acres of forestland and treating approximately 60,000 acres annually, generating about 780,000 tons of excess forest biomass (limbs, tops, and small trees that make up ladder fuels). The U.S. Forest Service has stated that is should be treating 500,000 acres annually to help reduce the number and severity of catastrophic wildfires. The most cost-effective disposal of the large biomass piles currently is to burn them – releasing soot and pollution into the air. The Placer County Air Pollution Control District is piloting an alternative biomass disposal solution with the Biomass Waste for Energy Project. It uses excess forest biomass to produce renewable energy instead of burning it in the open, resulting in significant air pollution reductions, removal of hazardous forest fire fuels, and the creation of new employment opportunities. The Air District and U.C. Berkeley are jointly implementing a research project at Blodgett to track the air emissions associated with collection, processing, transport and use of excess forest biomass as a renewable energy fuel compared to current pile and burn practices. Just one large forest biomass pile – often exceeding the size of four typical homes – would provide enough fuel to power 60 homes with renewable energy for a year. While this solution is not yet economically sustainable because the processing and transportation costs currently exceed the value of the biomass fuel, leaders are evaluating how to monetize the co-benefits of improving forest health and reducing severe wildfires. “The long term health of California’s forest ecosystems is at significant risk to catastrophic wildfire. Treating unnatural accumulations of forest biomass and using that material as fuel to produce renewable power is a great solution and we’re working hard to figure out how that process can potentially be implemented on a broader scale,” said Tom Christofk, Air Pollution Control Officer for the Air District. “Those who attended the event at Blodgett all will play a very important role in developing the needed solutions.”
Sacramento Region Has Met Federal Air Requirements for Fine Particle Pollution Local efforts must continue to sustain clean air gains 7/31/2013 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency determined the Sacramento region has met the federal air standards for fine particulate pollution, PM 2.5. Wood smoke, typically from woodstoves and fireplaces, causes almost 50 percent of the region’s wintertime pollution and contains fine particles (PM 2.5) that can damage lungs, especially in young children and older adults. On days when fine particle pollution is forecasted to be elevated, burn restrictions – voluntary or mandatory – are announced by the local air quality management districts serving the nonattainment area. The Sacramento PM2.5 nonattainment area includes Sacramento County, the western portions of El Dorado and Placer counties, and the eastern portions of Solano and Yolo counties. The EPA has suspended additional contingency measures and the threat of potential burdens on residents and businesses as long as the Sacramento area continues to meet the PM2.5 air standards. “It is very important that residents in Sacramento County continue to observe the Check Before You Burn requirements during the winter months,” said Christina Ragsdale, a spokesperson for the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District. “This is a case where personal action makes a huge difference for our region’s air quality.”
Regional Bicycle, Pedestrian and Trails Plan Released More trips by bicycle or foot can help air quality 7/31/2013 The Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) Board recently approved an updated Regional Bicycle, Pedestrian and Trails Master Plan (Master Plan). The Master Plan integrates local plans into a regional bicycle and pedestrian system and will be used to guide long-term decisions for bicycle and pedestrian funding priorities. Local surveys have found that people are willing to bicycle or walk more frequently when safe and convenient routes are provided. By replacing vehicle miles traveled with biking or walking, the transportation system can serve more trips without increasing congestion or emissions of transportation-related pollutants. In addition to improved air quality, the Master Plan cites vibrant business districts, lower road infrastructure maintenance costs, and higher levels of individual health and wellness as benefits of walking and biking. The current long-range regional transportation and land use plan, the Metropolitan Transportation Plan/ Sustainable Communities Strategy (MTP/SCS), provides $2.8 billion through 2035 for bicycle and pedestrian improvements across the greater Sacramento region. “This iteration of the Master Plan goes further to connect SACOG’s regional planning efforts, such as the Blueprint and our Sustainable Communities Strategy, with the great work conducted by individual cities and counties,” shared Victoria Cacciatore, Active Transportation Team Coordinator at SACOG. “It also highlights many local projects and accomplishments that individually enhance the communities while collectively creating a better environment for biking and walking in our region, and decreasing our reliance on automobiles.” The Master Plan projects align with the MTP/SCS goals and projects strong performance benefits. Between 2008 and 2035, bicycle person trips are projected to increase by nearly 50 percent, while walk person trips increase by more than 64 percent over the same period. Get Involved:
Risk of Catastrophic Wildfires Rises in 2013 and Damaging Air Pollution With It Luncheon speakers offer short and long-term solutions to wildfire prevention 6/25/2013 Participants in the Cleaner Air Partnership’s Quarterly Luncheon learned about the region’s unprecedented risk of wildfires this season, and actions residents and communities can take to reduce their fire risk and the damaging air pollution it can cause. Brad Harris, Cal Fire Chief for the Nevada-Yuba-Placer Unit shared many startling statistics. In the past five years the state has averaged roughly 1,200 fires between January 1 to June 8, burning 11,000 acres. Yet in 2013, there have already been 2,200 fires which have burned over 50,000 acres. The reasons for more frequent and larger fires are prolonged drought, historically low fuel moistures in trees and vegetation, and an abundance of “fuel” in forests that can catch fire. “Generally our annual wildfire risk is very weather dependent,” Chief Harris reported. “These droughts will build on themselves until we get another ‘normal’ winter, if ever. We may be looking at the ‘new normal’ …we really don’t know.” Chief Harris recommended residents (1) Be prepared by knowing escape routes and what to take if given only a five-minute warning; (2) Provide a 100 foot “defensible space” around your home; and (3) Be cautious with fire-causing actions, including activities like lawn mowing or brush clearing. Tom Christofk, Air Pollution Control Officer for Placer County Air Pollution Control District (PCAPCD), shared market-based approaches the air district is piloting to pre-treat forested landscapes and prevent catastrophic fires. The Biomass Waste for Energy Project utilizes excess forest biomass to produce renewable energy in lieu of open burning, resulting in significant pollution reductions, removes hazardous forest fire fuels, provides new employment opportunities, and one pile of biomass provides energy to 60 homes for a year. Get Involved:
- Click here for more tools to increase the safety of your family and home from wildfires
- Click here for a video about the Biomass Waste for Energy Project
Local Program Improves Housing Stock and Air Quality Small investment reaps large returns 6/25/2013 Seeking a proactive and voluntary program to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from homes, the Sacramento Association of REALTORSÂ®, in partnership with the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality District, Rebuilding Together Sacramento, Habitat for Humanity, and UC Davis developed the Home Energy Conservation Program (HECP). Through the HECP volunteers improves energy efficiency for low-income homeowners in the Sacramento region by providing the most cost-effective weatherization upgrades, such as window caulking, door weather stripping, installing electrical gaskets, replacing standard light bulbs with compact fluorescent, wrapping hot water heaters, insulating hot water pipes, and installing low flow showerheads. Over 75 homes have been upgraded in the past year, averaging less than $200 in costs per home, offering annual utility bill savings of $360, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by approximately one ton per year. U.C. Davis has leveraged technology applications to improve this program, such as developing a smart phone app for data collection, mapping pockets of low-income seniors in the region for program recruitment, and modeling greenhouse gas emission reductions. Long-term HECP would like to create a protocol allowing local investment from businesses purchasing carbon credit offsets. Tax-deductible contributions to this program can be made at http://www.sarcharitablefoundation.org/donate/ with the entry “Home Energy Conservation Program” in the description field.
CAP Says Don’t Raid Cap-and-Trade Auction Proceeds to make State Budget Balance CAP urges use of Cap-and-Trade proceeds for greenhouse gas reduction efforts 6/25/2013 Before the California state budget deal was completed, the leaders from the business, public health and environmental organizations that constitute the Cleaner Air Partnership quickly reached a consensus decision: using Cap-and-Trade auction proceeds to temporarily make the state budget balance was poor public policy. The California Air Resources Board developed the Cap-and-Trade program to reduce emissions and support meeting the goals established in AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. Since its adoption seven years ago, the public record is replete with statements that revenues generated from credits would be re-invested in activities that accelerate greenhouse gas reduction efforts in the private and public sector. The Cleaner Air Partnership believes that borrowing Cap-and-Trade revenues for temporary general fund relief sets a bad precedent, erodes public trust in state government’s ability to keep its prior commitments, and lengthens the time and diminishes the resources available to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a timely fashion. “When these organizations are of common view and purpose, as they are on this matter, it signals to policy makers an issue deserving significant attention and care,” said Art Pimentel, Chair of the Cleaner Air Partnership. The Cleaner Air Partnership sent a letter urging lawmakers and the Governor to reverse the use of Cap-and-Trade proceeds for general fund relief as soon as possible. Although the budget has passed, the partnership will continue to advocate that this decision to be reversed as soon as possible.
AT&T Introduces Alternative Fuel Vehicles to Fleet Reductions in fuel, cost and emissions 5/30/2013 AT&T recently joined other businesses in the region in reducing vehicle fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by converting portions of their fleet to alternative fuel vehicles. AT&T Inc. plans to introduce 15,000 alternative-fuel vehicles, including natural gas vehicles and hybrid electric cars and vans, to its fleet through 2018. The initiative would save 49 million gallons of gasoline over the 10-year deployment period, according to a 2009 report from the Center for Automotive Research, an Ann Arbor, Michigan-based nonprofit. Natural gas emits about 27 percent less carbon dioxide than diesel, Energy Information Administration data show. Fleet owners might save $25,000 a year on fuel costs, according to David Pursell, a managing director at adviser Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. in Houston. It would take more than two years to offset the higher initial cost of the vehicle. AT&T currently has 5,200 natural gas vans on the road, or about seven percent of its fleet, as part of a plan to spend $350 million to replace about 8,000 gasoline-powered service vehicles over five years. There are currently 51 alternative fuel vehicles in the Sacramento region’s fleet. “Reducing fuel consumption and emissions is an ongoing priority for AT&T, and having a fleet the size of ours in California means that any change can make a significant, positive difference across the state and here in the Sacramento region,” said Kathy McKim, Vice-President, External Affairs for AT&T California. “We hope our investment will help spark further innovation in the transportation sector and related industries.”
May is Bike Month! Ride a Bicycle, Log Miles, Win Prizes! 4/30/2013 Get in gear for May is Bike Month! May is Bike Month is an annual campaign in the six-county Sacramento Region each year that promotes bicycle use as a mode of transportation for running errands, commuting, riding recreationally, or working. By logging bicycle miles at www.mayisbikemonth.com or visiting an energizer station, participants become eligible to win weekly prizes. Fewer cars on the road improves air quality and reduces traffic congestion. Studies show that “active transportation,” such as biking, walking and using transit, helps residents reach the recommended 30 minutes a day, five days a week of moderate exercise to avoid health problems related to inactivity, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. May is Bike Month organizers encourage residents to bicycle to work, for exercise, or for errands and help the region meet the challenging goal of riding a collective two million miles in the month of May. Get Involved: May is Bike Month Website
Air Quality Team Successfully Carries Policy Message to D.C. Insights gained for local bike share program 4/30/2013 The Metro Chamber’s Cap-to-Cap Air Quality team returned from D.C. energized following jam-packed days of informing elected officials of important policies that will impact the Sacramento region’s air quality, and learning from federal agencies and think tanks of best practices and emerging issues. Initial highlights from the time in D.C. include:
- Majority staff for the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee voiced that incentive funding to change-out dirty engines is likely to continue in the next transportation bill
- The Department of Energy informed the team of an upcoming funding opportunity that will leverage smart buildings with smart vehicle technologies to maximize renewable energy in the grid
- The team met with Transportation for America and continued the conversation in Sacramento last week to learn more about the implementation of the existing Federal transportation bill (MAP-21) and challenges to funding transportation demands
Additionally, the team had very informative meetings with Washington D.C.’s Capital Bikeshare program director and Alta Bikeshare (operator of the system) about the nation’s largest and most successful bike-share program. Capital Bikeshare allows a rider to “borrow” bikes from convenient kiosks and return them to stations throughout the city. They provided helpful information about their financial model, metrics tracked, and their advice for launching a new program. Many Cap-to-Cap delegates utilized the Capital Bikeshare system, and considered what bike share could look like in the Sacramento region. Fehr & Peers has been retained by the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District to conduct a business plan for a regional bike share system which will include recommended sites for bike share stations and an estimate of initial capital costs and ongoing operational expenses. Contact Chris Morfas at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about the bike share effort in the Sacramento region.
First-ever Sacramento Area Representative Appointed to the State Air Resources Board Sacramento County Supervisor Phil Serna sworn in as ARB Board Member 2/28/2013 Governor Jerry Brown appointed Sacramento County Supervisor Phil Serna to serve as a new member to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) representing the Sacramento region. Serna was sworn in on February 20, 2013. Supervisor Serna has served as a Sacramento County supervisor since 2010, and currently serves as the chair of the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District. Previously he was principal at Serna Consulting LLC and vice president of governmental affairs at the Home Builders Association of Northern California. Sacramento is the state’s most populous region not meeting federal clean air standards without representation on CARB until the appointment of Supervisor Serna. An estimated 70% of the region’s air pollution emissions come from mobile sources such as cars and trucks, and CARB has jurisdiction over those sources. Assembly Bill 146 (Dickinson) added for the first time a representative from the Sacramento region to the California Air Resources Board. “Congratulations to Supervisor Serna on his appointment to the ARB,” said Assemblymember Roger Dickinson. “Out of a pool of talented candidates from the Sacramento area, I am confident he will serve our region and its over 2 million residents well and will be a strong voice in critical future decision-making to improve our local air quality,” he added. “On behalf of the Cleaner Air Partnership, we applaud the appointment of Supervisor Serna to CARB,” stated Art Pimentel, Chair of the Cleaner Air Partnership. “The need to balance the interests of both public health and business will be well served by Supervisor Serna.” Sacramento offers a model of success, with an outstanding track record on difficult air quality issues. Examples include rice burning, wood smoke and innovations such as diesel incentive programs, which became the template for a state-wide program that accelerates the deployment of clean diesel technologies in truck fleets. “It was gratifying to see so many excellent candidates throughout the region who were willing to make this extraordinary commitment to represent our region,” said Kori Titus, CEO of Breathe California of Sacramento-Emigrant Trails. “I’m confident Supervisor Serna will do a great job representing the Sacramento region in developing statewide solutions that will benefit our local air quality and the correlated health impacts.” “The Sacramento region has a history of working collaboratively to reduce pollution for the benefit of public health in partnership with the business community,” said Roger Niello, President and CEO of the Sacramento Metro Chamber. “Supervisor Serna will bring this spirit and help CARB achieve vital state goals related to economic growth, environmental sustainability and equity.”
CAP Business Partner Recognized for Environmental Excellence Union Pacific’s Lanny Schmid receives high honor 11/30/2012 The Association of American Railroads (AAR) awarded the 2012 Professional Environmental Excellence Award, the highest honor for environmental professionals in the railroad industry, to Union Pacific (UP) Director of Environmental Affairs Lanny Schmid. Based in Omaha, Neb., Lanny, a 27-year veteran of the railroad industry, works tirelessly to identify environmental trends and initiatives to bring about optimal solutions for both his company and the communities through which it operates. “Railroads have a great environmental story to tell from a fuel efficiency and emissions reduction standpoint,” said AAR President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger. “But it is employees like Lanny who are dedicated to both their company and to the preservation of our natural environment that are the rail industry’s ultimate environmental advantage.” During his 27-year UP career, Lanny has worked to bring together federal and state agencies, communities and key personnel from various railroad departments to find workable solutions to environmental issues. An example is his work with the California Air Resources Board since the mid-1990s to bring the most advanced and environmentally friendly technology to the state’s South Coast Air Basin before it was commercially available, leading to a 65 percent reduction in nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, AAR officials said. In addition, he led a program to explore experimental testing of exhaust gas recirculation systems to reduce NOx emissions and was instrumental in obtaining grants to replace 166 older locomotives with newer ones that can reduce emissions. Union Pacific is one of the Cleaner Air Partnership’s funding partners and is committed to reducing emissions for the benefit of air quality in the Sacramento region.
Art Pimentel steps in as new chair of Cleaner Air Partnership Former Woodland mayor to assume volunteer position following Tom Stallard’s seven year leadership 11/30/2012 The Cleaner Air Partnership (CAP) is pleased to announce that former Woodland Mayor Art Pimentel will serve as the next Chair of the Cleaner Air Partnership. Art has skillfully represented the region’s air quality initiatives on the annual Capitol-to-Capitol lobbying trip to Washington DC. Pimentel also previously served as the chair of the Yolo-Solano Air Quality Management District (AQMD) Board of Directors, where he led a coalition of elected officials from the Yolo and Solano counties to adopt rules to protect both the public health and the communities’ largely agricultural economies. With more than 13 years of experience in community-based organizations, Pimentel is an accomplished professional in public policy, building coalitions, and leading community-based efforts that seek economic, environmental and public health benefits for all people. “Art is dedicated to helping communities and businesses work together to improve our air quality in ways that benefit everyone,” said Mat Ehrhardt, Executive Director of Yolo-Solano Air Quality Management District. “As chair of the Yolo-Solano AQMD, Art showed a deep commitment to meeting air quality goals through collaboration and creative thinking.” Members of the Cleaner Air Partnership highly regard outgoing Chair Tom Stallard for his leadership and regional consensus building and are grateful for the seven years he’s dedicated to the Cleaner Air Partnership as volunteer Chair. “The news that Art Pimentel will be the next chair of the Cleaner Air Partnership is most welcome,” said Stallard. “Art has chaired the Yolo Solano Air Quality Management District Board of Directors and has a passion for the quality of our air. He is a skillful and intelligent thought leader who attracts others to issues that concern him. CAP is in good hands with our talented staff at Valley Vision and with Art Pimentel as the volunteer chair.” Art is currently the Director of TRiO Programs at Woodland Community College and serves on the Woodland Healthcare Community Board of Directors and the Woodland Youth Coalition. Art will begin his role as Chair of the Cleaner Air Partnership on January 1, 2013.
Breathe California Study Published Study finds an increase in tobacco use depiction in top grossing movies 10/16/2012 Breathe California of Sacramento-Emigrant Trails™ recent study, Smoking in Top-Grossing US Movies, 2011, was published in the Center for Disease Controls Preventing Chronic Disease journal. The study reviewed the number of incidents of tobacco use depicted in movies in the United States in 2011 with previously reported trends and found total tobacco incidents per movie rose 7% from 2010 to 2011, ending five years of decline. Tobacco-use incidents in youth-rated films increased 34%. The study was completed in conjunction with the University of California, San Francisco and utilized data collected by Breathe California of Sacramento-Emigrant Trails trained student volunteers through the Thumbs Up! Thumbs Down! (TUTD) Program. The TUTD program is designed to reduce the glamorization of tobacco in movies by enlisting student volunteers, ages 14-22, to count occurrences of tobacco use in US top-grossing movies each year and share the findings with their peers. Get Involved: Click here to download the report
New Law Adds Sacramento Representation to the California Air Resources Board Supporters celebrate passage of AB 146 10/16/2012 Leaders from the Cleaner Air Partnership joined Assemblymember Roger Dickinson at a press event at the California State Railroad Museum celebrating Assembly Bill 146 (Dickinson). AB 146, signed into law by Governor Brown, for the first time adds a new member to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) representing the Sacramento region. “The Sacramento region is the largest major metropolitan area in the state currently without designated representation on the Air Resources Board. Today, AB 146 supporters and I celebrated that our region and its over 2 million residents will have a direct voice in critical future decision-making to improve our local air quality,” said Assemblymember Dickinson. An estimated 70% of the Sacramento region’s air pollution emissions come from mobile sources such as cars and trucks, and CARB has jurisdiction over those sources. AB 146 was supported by over 50 of the Sacramento region’s public, private and nonprofit sector leaders who seek to be part of solutions that will impact the six-county Sacramento region. County Supervisor Phil Serna, Board Chair of the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District, expressed his thanks to the Cleaner Air Partnership “for their tireless efforts that helped us get here today.” “The business community is dedicated to improving air quality because we know the quality of our air contributes to our region’s quality of life,” said Roger Niello, President and CEO of the Sacramento Metro Chamber. “The Cleaner Air Partnership addresses air challenges in a collaborative and business-friendly way.” Kori Titus, CEO of Breathe California of Sacramento-Emigrant Trails remarked that “the passage of AB 146 is exciting and the result of a collaborative effort over the past decade. The region will bring this collaborative spirit to CARB, benefiting the hundreds of thousands in our region who suffer from respiratory ailments which can be triggered by air pollution.” The event also highlighted Union Pacific’s experimental low-emission locomotive, UP 9900, one of 25 locomotives testing diesel emission-reduction techniques. Get Involved: Click here for more information about the UP 9900
Agriculture and Air Quality Discussed at Luncheon Speakers promote the merits and improvement areas of incentive programs 9/25/2012 Incentive programs have invested over $151 million in the Sacramento region to help businesses with early conversion to lower-polluting equipment. The Agricultural Pump Electrification Program, which helps farmers convert from diesel to electric water pumps, is an example of a program that not only helps with the cost of conversion but can result in immediate cost savings. Frank Muller, an owner with Joe Muller and Sons, said they have converted more than 50 pumps to electric through this program. “It was an easy decision,” Frank shared with the Luncheon attendees, “we preferred electric pumps and saved money immediately.” Frank also shared unanticipated challenges uncovered at the end of their 10-year contract, and offered recommendations for improvement with future contracts such that participants are rewarded for implementing more efficient practices that result in reduced water and energy usage. Despite the challenges, Frank expressed the confidence his farm has in the incentive programs highlighting that they have purchased over 20 new tractors through the Carl Moyer program and found that in addition to polluting less, new features such as the GPS guide system has increased their efficiency resulting in a 15-20% reduction in fuel costs. Approximately $1.3 million is still available in this funding cycle of the Agriculture Pump Electrification Program. Applications are accepted on a first come first serve basis through December 31, 2012. Click here for more information about the program, and here for other incentive programs. Debbie Jordan, Air Division Director of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 9, and a funding partner of the Agriculture Pump Electrification Program shared that collaborative efforts such as this are one of the favorite parts of her job because “these projects are the most forward-thinking and they inevitably spur more creative projects.” She also commented that of the 45 areas she works with, “not one region has worked harder to meet ozone standards than the Sacramento region.” Debbie also highlighted a Clean Air Technology Initiative where EPA has partnered with the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District to develop the first zero-emission, completely autonomous agricultural spray vehicle, which has the potential to significantly reduce emissions from agricultural tractors. The program also included a presentation from David Shabazian, SACOG Program Manager for the Rural-Urban Connection Strategy, which looks at the region’s growth, economic viability and environmental sustainability objectives from a rural perspective. He highlighted a model which helps analyze how to maximize farm land economic opportunities with a balance of exports and production for the local market. Get Involved:
- Click here for more information about the Ag Pump program
- Click here for information about other incentive programs
Road Map Released for California Hydrogen Fueling Stations West Sacramento fueling station will connect the region to the statewide network 9/13/2012 Pollution from the transportation sector is the biggest contributor to California’s greenhouse gas emissions. An estimated 70% of the Sacramento region’s air pollution emissions come from mobile sources such as cars and trucks. Alternative fuel passenger vehicles, such as Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs) are prepared to enter the commercial market, helping California reach its goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving air quality and diversifying transportation fuels. The greatest obstacle to automakers introducing FCEVs to the California commercial market in 2015 is the lack of fueling stations. Consumers must have confidence they can re-fuel near their home, office or other destinations, and sufficient demand must exist to warrant a fueling station. The California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP), a collaboration of organizations working together to promote the commercialization of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, recently released a report A California Road Map: The Commercialization of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles which offers a pragmatic road map for hydrogen station placement. Through a collaborative process substantiated by research, data and modeling, the CaFCP members determined that a network of 68 stations operating statewide by 2015 will enable the launch of the early commercial market of 10,000-30,000 fuel cell electric vehicles. Initial station deployments will focus on geographic clusters in key markets with additional stations connecting these clusters into a regional network. While most of the initial stations will be in the Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay area, a station in West Sacramento is planned to open in 2013 to serve the Sacramento region and as a connector to the network. “Sacramento is a destination in its own right as home to the State Capitol with the likelihood to grown into its own cluster market,” stated Keith Malone, Communications Specialist for the California Fuel Cell Partnership. Get Involved: Click here to download the report
Air Pollution Remains as Top Perceived Health Threat to Californians 2012 Californians and the Environment survey released 8/15/2012 Educating the general public and decision-makers in public, private and non-profit entities about air quality issues, health and economic impacts, and potential solutions is one of the focus areas of the Cleaner Air Partnership (CAP). Understanding public perception is an important component of CAP’s education and advocacy efforts. The annual statewide survey, Californians and the Environment, by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) seeks to understand Californians’ opinions on air pollution, global warming, and energy policy. The 2012 survey found that two-thirds of Californians (64%) say air pollution is a big or somewhat of a big problem in the region where they live. About half of Californians (49%) say air pollution in their region is a serious health threat and forty-one percent of adults say that they or someone in their immediate family suffers from asthma or other respiratory problems. To reduce regional air pollution, solid majorities of Californians support tougher standards on new passenger and diesel engine vehicles and on commercial and industrial activities; a smaller majority back tougher standards on agricultural activities, but support for each has hit a record low. The PPIC found that majorities of adults-across party lines-favor various ways the state and federal governments can reduce greenhouse gas emissions including increased energy efficiency in buildings and appliances, reducing vehicle miles traveled through improved land use and transportation planning, and requiring more stringent auto emission reduction requirements and low carbon fuel standards. Cap-and-trade, a large component of California’s Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32) scoping plan, will set limits on companies’ greenhouse gas emissions and allow those who emit less to sell permits to those who exceed their limits. The program is scheduled to begin in November, yet the survey found fifty-seven percent of Californians have not heard about the cap-and-trade system. Of the 12% who say they have heard a lot about cap and trade, 62% oppose it. Get Involved: Click here to download the report
Federal Air Quality Incentive Funding Preserved Sacramento region’s requests included in new transportation bill 8/15/2012 Attendees of the August Cleaner Air Partnership Technical Advisory Committee received a briefing from Erik Johnson, Government & Media Affairs Coordinator at the Sacramento Area Council of Governments, of the new Federal transportation bill “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century” (MAP-21). This new bill, the first since 2005, authorizes over $100 billion in federal transportation spending the next two years and supplies approximately 25% of the Sacramento region’s transportation funding. The Air Quality and Transportation teams from the Metro Chamber’s annual Capitol-to-Capitol lobbying program were pleased that their transportation reauthorization-related priorities were included within the bill. “Two Air Quality Team priorities were maintaining Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ) funding levels and ensuring that early retirement of old dirty engines remains an acceptable strategy for federal funding. Both priorities were both met in subsequent federal actions,” commented Larry Greene, Air Pollution Control Officer for the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District and co-leader of the Air Quality Team. “This allows us to continue our current programs which will help meet our federal air quality improvement requirements.” Items of note in the new bill include:
- The duration is limited to two years, expiring September 2014
- No earmarks, compared to 5,600 in the previous bill
- Programs were consolidated from 90 to now 30, providing more flexibility with the elimination of dedicated funding restrictions, but adds challenges in project funding prioritization
- Two major new focus areas are “Accelerated Project Delivery” through environmental streamlining and a “Performance Measurement” component that will link individual projects back to national priorities
- Funding for electric vehicle charging and compressed natural gas vehicle refueling stations is now an eligible use of CMAQ funds
Issues that were not addressed in MAP-21 include:
- No new revenue sources for the Highway Trust Fund – with the current structure the fund is projected to be depleted by 2014
- No funding or policies for passenger rail (i.e. Amtrak)
- No funding for high-speed rail
- No changes to transit commuter benefits – Currently the monthly pre-tax commute benefit for transit is about half the value of that for parking
Local Media Experts Share Insights on the State of Environmental Reporting June luncheon recap 7/19/2012 The June quarterly luncheon featured an engaging panel of speakers discussing “Media and the Environment.” The context of the conversation was based on the empirical and anecdotal evidence that air quality is a top public concern, as demonstrated in the annual Public Policy Institute of California annual survey Californians and the Environment which reports that residents continue to name air pollution as the most important environmental issue facing the state. Additionally, mobile sources are the largest contributors to air pollution in the Sacramento region, yet the regulatory process is designed to focus more on stationary sources, or large businesses. The panelist’s discussion focused on the state of media today, how it influences environmental coverage, and how it can be leveraged to communicate shifts to individual behaviors and other activities to reduce air pollution. The panelists agreed that generally media outlets are moving away from environmental coverage, primarily due to lack of resources, shifting reporters to become more generalists. Joe Barr, Director of News and Information at Capital Public Radio shared that a Pew survey found less than 1% of reporting is focused on the environment. “However,” Joe stated, “there are audiences like Capital Public Radio who demand environmental coverage. The Capital Public Radio listener survey provides a mandate of the top beats requested, which include government, education, health and the environment.” Stuart Leavenworth, Editorial Page Editor of the Sacramento Bee offered suggestions on how to boost public awareness of air quality, such as capitalizing upon new mobile media applications as a growing mechanism to reach individuals. Participants in the meeting shared information about the iBreathe: Sacramento iPhone application, which brings local air quality conditions to the hands of iPhone users, and the need to increase awareness of this application. The panel concluded by sharing recommendations for improved environmental coverage: 1) Focus on stories with a human element, because great journalism is telling stories about people; 2) Provide art or visuals that jump off the page or screen to help tell a story; and 3) Don’t just focus on the “bad”, reporters like good news too! Get Involved: iBreathe: Sacramento
California Small Businesses Recognized for Climate-Smart Strategies Recognizing Atlas Disposal Industries 6/20/2012 On June 13, 2012 Atlas Disposal Industries of Sacramento was named a California Air Resources Board CoolCalifornia Small Business of the Year for demonstrating exceptional climate-change management practices and communication. Atlas Disposal was one of five 2012 CoolCalifornia Business of the Year winners. The company was recognized for its actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by converting over 25 percent of its fleet to clean natural gas, and for implementing collection and processing systems to divert materials out of local landfills and back into the economy. “These small-business leaders from across the state prove that it only takes a few simple steps to be more sustainable,” said ARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols. “Whether it’s running a hotel or providing legal services they each demonstrated that making smart climate-friendly choices is good for the environment and for their bottom line.” Established in 1998, Atlas Disposal focuses on educating businesses about their recycling potential, and has emerged as the fastest growing waste and recycling removal company in the area. Atlas Disposal is now the largest independently owned waste and recycling service provider in Sacramento. The company’s diversion programs include a LEED-certified recycling program, food waste composting programs, and multifamily recycling systems designed to keep materials collected by its clean-fuel fleet – the Sacramento region’s largest privately held fleet – out of landfills. “We’re honored to receive this award. Our work with the Air Resources Board and the use of the tools at California.org validates that we’re operating in a way that helps to improve regional air quality and helps our customers to improve their own performance in reducing environmental impacts,” said Dave Sikich, CEO of Atlas Disposal. Atlas Disposal is a four-time CalRecycle Waste Reduction Awards Program (WRAP) winner and a certified Sacramento Sustainable Business. Get Involved:
UP Releases 2011 Sustainability and Citizenship Report Commitments to the Community 6/20/2012 Union Pacific (UP) released its 2011 Sustainability and Citizenship Report featuring accomplishments such as the company’s commitment to environmental stewardship, safety, and business performance. “We embrace the responsibility that comes with being a trusted transportation provider and are proud to continue our legacy by providing quality jobs, minimizing our environmental impact, providing value to customers and shareholders, and contributing to the communities where we live and work,” said Robert W. Turner, Union Pacific Senior Vice President of Corporate Relations. Union Pacific believes that environmental performance and business performance are mutually compatible. Union Pacific operates North America’s cleanest locomotive fleet. Since 2000, UP has invested $6 billion to purchase locomotives that meet the EPA’s updated emissions guidelines and an additional $200 million to upgrade older locomotives in their fleet. Since then, UP’s fuel efficiency has improved by 19%and diesel particulate matter (DPM) emissions at the Union Pacific J.R. Davis Yard in Roseville, CA have been reduced by 55%. UP also pioneered Genset switching locomotive technology that reduces greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 37% compared to older switching locomotives. More than 12 million metric tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have been saved – the equivalent annual GHG emissions from more than 2.4 million passenger vehicles. For their efforts, UP was awarded with a Clean Air Excellence Award by the EPA in 2011. Hiring is also a significant part of their growth story. UP expects to hire approximately 4,000 people this year, in addition to the 4,500 employees hired in 2011. According to the Association of American Railroads, every railroad job supports another 4.5 jobs elsewhere in the economy. Get Involved: Click here to learn more about UP’s sustainability efforts and to read the full Report
Rail Project to Provide Jobs and Produce Biomass Diesel A New Track and Renewable Fuels Facility Planned at the Port of West Sacramento 6/20/2012 In June, 2012 the Port of West Sacramento closed escrow on the transfer of almost 19 acres of land from the Port to Woodland-based Sierra Northern Railroad, allowing for the development of a new rail loop track. The new loop track will be constructed using funding from the Federal Railroad Administration’s Rail Line Relocation and Improvement grant program. The rail project is expected to create 10 temporary construction jobs and position the Port to compete more effectively for new export cargo. “This new loop track is a huge advance for the Port. We’ll be able to unload rail cars more quickly and efficiently, and reduce rail impacts in West Sacramento,” said Mike McGowan, Port Commission Chairman and Yolo County Supervisor. “The new loop track not only increases commerce to West Sacramento and the Port, but it also contributes towards the long term development plans for downtown West Sacramento,” said Dave Magaw, President of Sierra Northern. A renewable fuels facility is also being developed on the site. Recently approved for a $5 million California Energy Commission grant, the SacPort BioFuels facility endeavors to show how locally generated, non-recyclable waste can be converted into locally made, locally used renewable fuels. Officials project that the fuels facility will produce 365,000 gallons of renewable diesel that will be blended with conventional diesel. At full capacity, the project is expected to create more than 60 permanent jobs and more than 100 additional temporary construction jobs. “West Sacramento continues to add sustainable businesses to the City and Port. SacPort BioFuels is a great addition to the list of companies investing hundreds of millions of dollars in West Sacramento, creating needed jobs and promoting commerce at our Port,” said West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon.
The Power of Waste Converting Organic Waste into Renewable Energy 5/21/2012 On April 19, 2012, Clean World Partners opened the nation’s first commercial high-solid organic waste conversion facility at the Sacramento headquarters of American River Packaging (ARP). The Organic Waste Recycling Center uses anaerobic digestion (AD) technology developed at U.C. Davis to convert food waste, agricultural residue, and other organic waste into renewable energy, fertilizer, and soil enhancements products. The systems at Clean World require less water for processing and reduce manufacturing costs. Each day 7.5 tons of food waste from regional food producers such as Campbell Soup and 0.5 tons of unrecyclable corrugated material from ARP will be converted into natural gas, which will then be used to generate approximately 1,300 kWh of renewable electricity per day. This will supply about 37 % of ARP’s electricity needs. The facility will also make it possible to divert 2,900 tons of waste from landfills and will produce 1,000 tons of organic soil amendments for the region’s agricultural and horticultural applications each year. “Installing the Clean World Partners system at our facility makes sense from an environmental and economical standpoint,” said Tom Kandris, CEO of American River Packaging. “We now provide our own plant with clean energy which comes from scrap byproduct that we’d otherwise pay to send to landfills.” Also currently under construction is a 100-ton per day Clean World system in south Sacramento that is expected to open in late spring. Get Involved: Click here for more information about Clean World Partners
CAPCOA Releases Second Annual Collaborative State of the Air Report California’s Progress Toward Clean Air 5/21/2012 The California Air Pollution Control Officers’ Association (CAPCOA), an association representing local air quality agencies throughout California, recently released a report providing information regarding the journey toward cleaner air and the challenges that remain for the State and local districts. Overall, the report found there has been a steady reduction in ozone and fine particulate matter across the state since 1980. Ozone and fine particulate matter can trigger and worsen the effects of asthma and negatively impacts lung health. Medical expenses associated with asthma in Sacramento County amounted to $3,259 per person per year during 2002-2007. The CAPCOA report features air quality successes in districts throughout California, including these highlights from air districts in the Sacramento region:
- The Placer County Air Pollution Control District has implemented self-sustaining forest management activities to restore forested land and has successfully engaged with the Union Pacific Railroad Company to reduce locomotive emissions from the rail yard.
- The Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District (SMAQMD) has attained the Federal PM 2.5 standard through its Check Before You Burn advertising and outreach efforts and Spare the Air Days. The District funded the upgrading of hundreds of on-road heavy-duty trucks, school buses, and agricultural equipment.
- The Yolo/Solano AQMD has replaced 16 school buses and has installed diesel particulate filter retrofits on 63 buses through the District’s Clean School Bus Program. The District also maintains a robust public outreach program using its “Enviroflash” service, which provides daily air quality information via email or text message.
Get Involved: Download the report here
Broadband as a Green Strategy New Research Study Shows Connection Between Digital Access and Reducing Pollution 4/20/2012 Valley Vision has released a new study that shows how best practices of digital applications help reduce pollution and improve transportation, health, and energy. The policy brief entitled Broadband as a Green Strategy: Promising Best Practices to Achieve Positive Environmental and Economic Benefits Through Accelerated Broadband Deployment and Adoption focuses on areas identified as the best immediate opportunity for high-level impact and help meet air quality standards. The California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF) contracted with Valley Vision to identify ways that remote health care, telework, digital learning, Smart Grid (two-way flow of electricity and information) and other applications offer “green” benefits to the environment. Reducing the amount of vehicle miles driven or minimizing land use and real estate space requirements through digital infrastructure has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lower costs. The policy brief provides a concise checklist of the recommended best practices in the areas of transportation, health, and energy to help achieve sustainability goals. For more information and to download the policy brief Broadband as a Green Strategy: Promising Best Practices to Achieve Positive Environmental and Economic Benefits Through Accelerated Broadband Deployment and Adoption and the literature review please visit www.valleyvision.org.
CoolCalifornia Challenge Launches April 1, 2012 Save Money and Protect the Environment 3/21/2012 The CoolCalifornia Challenge is a yearlong statewide competition sponsored by the California Air Resources Board and the UC Berkeley Renewable Appropriate Energy Laboratory aimed at identifying, motivating, and rewarding California cities that reduce their carbon footprints. Key outcomes of the Challenge include community engagement and personalized feedback. Three of the 10 cities participating in the Challenge lie within the Sacramento region. The list of participating cities includes:
- Chula Vista
- Citrus Heights
- San Jose
- Santa Cruz
Participating residents in these cities will take online surveys, track their carbon footprint score, and attend an informational meeting. Households will earn points for demonstrating their current low-carbon lifestyles and double bonus points for further carbon footprint reductions. These ten municipalities will compete to earn the most points, reduce the most carbon, and win prizes that will benefit their community. After three months of open competition three finalists will be chosen to compete for recognition as the Coolest California City. CoolCalifornia believes everyone can take steps towards reducing their carbon footprint and save money, even if they are not enrolled in the competition. Here are the 5 top ways listed by CoolCalifornia.org: 1. Change Your Transit Patterns – pick 1 day a week to walk, bike, carpool, or take transit 2. Increase Energy Efficiency At Home – keep your air filters clean, caulk and weather-strip doors and windows 3. Maintain Your Vehicle – inflate your tires properly and change the air filter regularly 4. Don’t Forget to Recycle – use recycle bins, use products made from post-consumer recycled content 5. Dry Up Household Water Consumption – turn off water when not in use, use water-efficient landscaping and irrigation methods The 12 month competition begins April 1, 2012. Live in a participating city? City program managers are scheduled to communicate directly with residents in their respective cities, but interested individuals are encouraged to sign up at the below link for updates. Get Involved: Cool California Website Sign up for updates here
Partner Highlights Featuring The Port of West Sacramento 2/27/2012 The Cleaner Air Partnership (CAP) is pleased to partner with the Port of West Sacramento as one of CAP’s 2012 funding partners. “We look forward to engaging with the Cleaner Air Partnership for information sharing, dialogue and joint action with representatives from local government, business, health and environmental communities,” said Port Manager Mike Luken. Operating since 1963, the Port of West Sacramento provides significant economic and environmental benefits to the region. The Port continues to serve the area by helping to generate several thousands of jobs for local residents, providing international market access for Northern California farmers, and handling a wide variety of imported goods. It also strives to be one of the greenest ports in the nation through its operations, other facilities housed on Port property, and by supporting clean-tech industry growth. The Port recently completed an Air Emissions/Greenhouse Gas Baseline Inventory of their operations; this document will be utilized by the Port to make improvements on Air Quality. Steps towards reaching this goal include the 2010 installation of a 647 kilowatt solar system, which covers 95% of the Port’s operational electricity needs. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Port’s conversion to solar power will prevent the production of 549 metric tons of carbon dioxide from fossil-fuel burning power plants each year, which is the equivalent of taking approximately 105 cars off the road or planting 14,076 trees. The Port also is working with environmentally friendly businesses, including biodiesel and wood-pellet manufacturers, to locate operations to the Port . In addition, West Cost Recycling is moving forward with plans to develop a metals-recycling facility at the Port, which will provide easy access to international markets. The Port also imports wind turbines and tower parts to complete wind farms in nearby communities, including Rio Vista. Funding from a $30 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant enabled the Port to purchase a mobile harbor crane that will be used for handling container and project cargo and to make other improvements as part of a new Marine Highway service operating in partnership with the Ports of Oakland and Stockton. The Port will partner with the Port of Oakland to move containers by barge from the Sacramento Region to the Bay Area along the waterway and reduce highway truck traffic. This project will improve Air Quality and will offer an alternative for Goods Movement besides the traditional truck on highway method. The Port also is planning to soon launch a project to deepen the 43-mile ship channel connecting West Sacramento the San Francisco Bay, which will allow more than 75% of fully loaded ocean-going freight ships to directly serve the Sacramento region – up from 30% currently. It will significantly strengthen the Port’s role as a key Northern California goods-movement facility, attracting more green businesses in addition to the intended wood-pellet, biofuel, and solar facilities. These improvements will allow the Port and its tenants to operate more efficiently, ultimately reduce air emissions, and decrease congestion by removing an estimated 23,500 truck trips annually from Interstate 80. The Cleaner Air Partnership is grateful for the generous support of the Port of West Sacramento and looks forward to working jointly to clean the air and promote economic growth. Get Involved: The Port of West Sacramento
Smart Growth Best Practices Highlights from the New Partners for Smart Growth Conference 2/27/2012 The Cleaner Air Partnership Technical Advisory Committee (CAPTAC) met earlier this month to discuss best practices and barriers to smart growth projects in the Sacramento region. Several Committee members attended the New Partners for Smart Growth Conference in San Diego and were able to share their stories from the conference. Below are some conference highlights that were recognized:
- A survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors found that 56% of Americans want walkable and bikeable communities. In addition to Generation “X” and “Y”, more of the Baby Boomer generation is seeking these active transportation options.
- Risk for negative health impacts associated with particulate matter (PM) is increased for residents living within four blocks of freeways. Infill projects need to be developed with safety and health in mind. A simple buffer zone is not an effective solution, but six prevention strategies were proposed to reduce health concerns.
- Speaker Dan Burton spoke of the La Jolla Boulevard renovation, which included lane reduction, angled parking, transitional lanes, a landscaped median, and roundabouts. These improvements greatly reduced congestion and the associated emissions and resulted in an increase in sales tax revenue of 30%.
The Committee also identified “partnerships” as a best practice strategy in moving forward with infill projects, especially in light of the top challenges faced: 1) regulations, 2) infrastructure, 3) financing, and 4) parking policies. The Air Quality Cap-to-Cap team will be advocating for support to overcome some of the infill development challenges on this year’s trip to D.C. For more information from the New Partners for Smart Growth Conference and to access the PowerPoint presentations from the break-out sessions, please visit www.newpartners.org. Get Involved: New Partners for Smart Growth Conference information and materials
Draft Metropolitan Transportation Plan and Sustainable Communities Strategies Released MTP/SCS to focus on transportation and land use options 1/23/2012 The Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) recently released their Draft Metropolitan Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy for 2035 (MTP/SCS) which is a regional plan for transportation investment priorities in the six-county region based on projections for growth in population, housing and jobs. The goal of the MTP/SCS is to make it possible for more people to live and work in the same community and live independently as they age. The MTP/SCS addresses the needs of the 2.3 million people currently living in the Sacramento Region by increasing maintenance of existing roads, adding more sidewalks and bike lanes, and focuses on restoring, maintaining, and expanding transit. The Draft MTP/SCS offers more transportation and land use options and makes the most of transportation funds despite funding cuts and regulatory restrictions. The plan improves upon past efforts to use funding wisely, reduce time spent in congestion, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and increase the number of residents with access to transit. Air quality is an important part of the MTP/SCS due to the widespread consequences it has for public health, the environment and the economy. With a growing population, the region must rise to the challenge of meeting and maintaining state and federal health-based air quality standards. The MTP/SCS addresses air quality through a process called “transportation conformity” that coordinates with local plans for improving air quality. The local plans in our region provide the strategies that will be used to attain and maintain national air quality standards, and the conformity process determines that the land uses and transportation investments in the plan meet standards for ozone, carbon monoxide, and particulate matter. The strategies found within the Draft MTP/SCS focus on integrating transportation and land use and align with the objectives of the Cleaner Air Partnership. The Cleaner Air Partnership has found that air-friendly growth and maximization of efficient transit and road use will bring about a decrease in vehicle miles traveled, and consequently, an overall reduction in air quality implications. Better air quality helps improve public health and our region’s overall quality of life, which is important to the business community’s focus on improved workforce productivity and new business attraction and retention. The Cleaner Air Partnership submitted a letter of support to the SACOG Board of Directors with strong encouragement to continue to support smart growth strategies which improve air quality, and adopt the MTP/SCS by April 2012 to meet conformity requirements and avoid unnecessary risks to the region’s transportation funds.
Clean Air Investors for 2012 The Cleaner Air Partnership Recognizes New Sponsors 1/23/2012 The Cleaner Air Partnership (CAP) is pleased to announce that the Port of West Sacramento, Union Pacific, and the Sacramento Association of REALTORSÂ® have joined CAP as 2012 funding partners. The Cleaner Air Partnership brings together business, local government, health and environmental communities to help the Capital Region meet clean air standards that protect health and promote economic growth. Close partnerships and working relationships with the business community are key components of our success. Operating since 1963, the Port of West Sacramento provides economic and environmental benefits to the region. The Port continues to serve the area by providing several thousand jobs to local residents and easy access for Northern California Farmers and strives to be one of the greenest Ports in the nation. Steps towards reaching this goal include installation of a 647 kilowatt solar system which covers virtually all of the Port’s operational electricity needs, a focus on recruiting green tenants such as wood-pellet, metals-recycling, biofuel and solar facilities, pursuit of a channel deepening project which will reduce air emissions and decrease congestion by removing more than 23,500 truck trips annually from Interstate 80, and installation of a mobile harbor crane that will be used for handling container and project cargo such as windmills and generators. “We look forward to engaging with the Cleaner Air Partnership for information sharing, dialogue and joint action with representatives from local government, business, health and environmental communities,” said Port Manager Mike Luken. Celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, Union Pacific Railroad provides a fuel-efficient, environmentally responsible, and safe method of freight transportation. Since 2005, Union Pacific has used Genset switching locomotive technology, which has reduced oxide and nitrogen emissions by 80 percent, particulate matter by 90 percent, and greenhouse gas emissions by 37 percent. Union Pacific trains are four times more fuel efficient than trucks, and a single train can carry as much freight as 300 trucks. “Union Pacific Railroad is enthusiastic about our participation in the Cleaner Air Partnership (CAP),” said Liisa Stark, Public Affairs Director for Union Pacific. “The opportunity to share information related to UP’s ongoing local and system-wide efforts to reduce emissions, together with emissions reduction efforts by CAP partners, will lead to mutual benefits and beneficial discussions regarding improved air quality in the Sacramento region.” The Sacramento Association of REALTORSÂ® (SAR) is a professional trade organization serving over 6,000 Sacramento area REALTORSÂ® and Affiliate Members providing services and programs to help create more healthy communities. SAR has been a valued partner in educating residents in the region about the “Check Before You Burn” program, offers “ready to go” marketing to help members provide clients helpful tools to save money and protect the environment, and is currently working towards the creation of a comprehensive voluntary program to green existing homes and low-income housing. The Cleaner Air Partnership is grateful for the support of these organizations, and looks forward to working jointly to clean the air and promote economic growth in 2012.
News from the COP-17 meeting in Durban, South Africa A briefing from the Global Climate Change Summit 1/23/2012 World leaders met earlier this month in Durban, South Africa for the 17th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP-17) to seek advancement of actions to “stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system.” In addition to the work of the official delegates, a parallel event at COP-17 provided an opportunity for information exchange, reporting and updating scientific information and coalition-building for organizations, businesses, scholarly endeavors and other conference participants. Larry Greene, Air Pollution Control Officer for the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District participated in this event as part of a two-person team representing the National Association of Clean Air Agencies (NACAA). “Much of the rest of the world now understands that dealing with greenhouse gas emissions, energy use, water and air pollution all converge on sustainable communities and development,” stated Larry when asked about key lessons learned from his experience. “We are well on our way in California with SB 375 and AB 32 and especially in Sacramento with our work on Blueprint, alternative fuels, plug-in vehicles, solar, RUCS, and our Sustainable Communities Strategy.” In addition to attending various session regarding the state of emerging science and studies on the impact of global warming around the world, Larry also represented NACAA on the “Understanding the Real Impact of GHG Mitigation Activities” panel along with Mary Nichols (Chairman, California ARB), the Hon. Terry Lake (Minister of Environment, British Columbia), Linda Adams (President, Regions20), and Glenn Schmidt (Head of Steering Governmental Affairs, BMW). Overall outcomes from the COP-17 conference included an agreement from over 190 countries to draft a “protocol, legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force” aimed at reducing emissions by 2015, to be implemented by 2020. See the COP17 homepage for more information.
Air Quality Leader Recognized for Excellence in Service Larry Greene Named Employee of the Year by SACOG 1/23/2012 On December 15, Larry Greene was presented with the SACOG Salutes! Employee of the Year Award. This award recognizes an individual employee of an organization or business who has made a significant contribution in the region in transportation, air quality, and/or smart growth. Larry has been the driving force in the many air-improving programs supported and implemented by the air district staff, including collaborative work to support local jurisdiction with toxic air contaminants, assessments of air quality impacts and benefits for infill and greenfield development, tools for residential developers to assess diesel fuel emissions, in addition to the more widely known Spare the Air and Check Before You Burn campaigns. Larry is a leader locally, nationally and internationally. He is the Executive Director of the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District. He and the District’s employees operate programs that reduce air pollution, encourage sustainable development, and impact public health. Larry has previously served as Air Pollution Control Officer for the Yolo-Solano Air Quality Management District, and has been active in the Cleaner Air Partnership, the American Lung Association, Breathe California of Sacramento-Emigrant Trails, The Sacramento Valley Basin Control Council Technical Advisory Committee, WALKSacramento, and the Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. He currently is serving his second term as president of the California Air Pollution Control Officers Association. Earlier this month, Larry represented the region at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Durban, South Africa.
Growing a Better Community, One Tree at a Time Quarterly luncheon features speakers from local tree organizations 11/21/2011 The Cleaner Air Partnership Quarterly Luncheon, hosted on November 4th, featured speakers from area tree foundations discussing the benefits of urban forests. Cindy Blain of the Sacramento Tree Foundation provided an overview of the “Greenprint” program, which is a roadmap for mobilizing and empowering community partners and volunteers to plant 5 million trees in the Sacramento region by 2025 to create healthy and livable communities. While the benefits of trees include reduced air temperatures, increased shade, and reduced winter wind to curb energy use, Cindy advised “it’s not just about planting trees – it is about building a better community” by bringing volunteers together to plan, plant, and maintain the trees. As part of the region’s plan State Implementation Plan (SIP), which outlines measures to help meet the federal clean air requirements, the Sacramento Tree Foundation is working closely with the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District to include trees as a voluntary control measure. This measure proposes to improve air quality by shifting 86,000 of the current 6.9 million tree inventory to tree species which emit fewer Biogenic Volatile Organic Compounds (BVOCs). In order for the U.S. EPA to approve the inclusion of tree plantings in the SIP, there needs to be demonstrated support from cities and counties in the region. The City of West Sacramento was the first to adopt an air quality and trees resolution where they committed to “increase the proportion of lower biogenic emitting tree species by up to 30%, where the tree planting does not conflict with native oak tree mitigation projects.” Dena Kirtley, Urban Forest Manager for the City of West Sacramento provided an overview of the City’s Free Shade Tree Program and commented that they joined as early adopters of Greenprint because they “believe regional participation and support of tree plantings are necessary to help meet Federal and State air standards to improve public health.” David Wilkinson from the Woodland Tree Foundation and David Robinson from Tree Davis emphasized the importance of collaboration, and in particular, their positive working relationships with their respective cities where they provide a valuable service with their ability to plant trees cost effectively using a volunteer workforce. In closing, Phil Tretheway, a participant in the 2011 Leadership Sacramento class encouraged attendees to join a tree planting event on Saturday, December 10th at 8:30am at Florin Road Bingo as part of their support of the Sacramento Tree Foundation’s “Cover Your Asphalt” parking lot retrofit program.
South Coast Air District releases “Right to Breathe” Documentary New film shows impact of poor air quality 9/27/2011 “The Right to Breathe” is the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s (AQMD) first signature documentary film on air quality viewed from a personal and human perspective. This film highlights how air quality differs from region to region, and how serious the air quality problem has become for kids, seniors, and the rest of us. This brief yet powerful documentary not only educates its viewers on the dangers of air pollution, it motivates them to take action and change what they can to make their home a healthier place to live. A limited number of free copies of the DVD will be available this fall. Contact Sam Atwood at the South Coast Air Quality Management District at 909-396-3456 or email@example.com for more information. Get Involved: Click here to view a link of the trailer
After School Program Empowers Children to Clean the Air O24u begins second year of air quality education 9/27/2011 Breathe California of Sacramento-Emigrant Trails (BCSET) has successfully completed its first year of the new O24u program. O24u is an after-school program developed for children ages 8-14 years old. It educates students about the environment and its impacts on lung health. The program encourages participants to demonstrate responsible actions, through fun hands-on activities that empower children to make change for clean air in their homes and communities. During the 2010- 2011 school year BCSET implemented the O24u program in three elementary schools in Yolo and Solano counties, including Dixon, Davis and Woodland. Students learned the importance of mitigating air pollution by learning about the environment and practicing daily behavior changes, such as recycling, and taking public transit. A total of 14 site facilitators were trained to implement the program, and an estimated 500 students, and 1000 parents and community members were reached. Breathe California of Sacramento -Emigrant Trails has secured funding from the Yolo-Solano Air Quality Management District and the Mr. and Mrs. G. Kirk Swingle Foundation to place the program in additional schools in Yolo and Solano Counties, this year. Program curriculum, onsite training and supplies will be provided. BCSET is currently in the process of securing sites for the 2011-2012 school year and welcomes Elementary school programs in Yolo and Solano counties. If you know of a school or afterschool program interested in participating in this project, please contact Argelia Leon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Regional Transit Program Seeks to Renew Service Regional Transit Briefs CAPTAC 8/23/2011 The Cleaner Air Partnership Technical Advisory Committee (CAPTAC) met earlier this month with the Sacramento Regional Transit District to discuss the newly proposed “TransitRenewal” program. RoseMary Covington, the Assistant General Manager of Planning and Transit System Development for the Sacramento Regional Transit District shared an overview of the program and discussed how the region utilizes the regional transit system, and the components of the system which are most cost effective. The TransitRenewal program is an implementation plan for the first five years of a broader twenty-eight year long “TransitAction” plan, the goal of which is to have high speed, timely frequency and sufficient capacity serving key demand areas in the region. Regional development is projected to be most successful in “sustainable communities” where growth is most concentrated. Light rail has just under half of all total boardings and slightly more than a third of the total cost, while the bus system has a little more than half the total boardings and almost two thirds of the total cost to run. Regional Transit (RT) found that light rail is significantly more cost efficient than bus service because it can accommodate five hundred passengers per driver versus sixty passengers per driver on a bus. RT also advised that if the light rail system is built where growth is projected to be most concentrated, the cost of maintaining public transportation would not only be cost effective, but it would also promote growth in rural communities. Get Involved: Click here for more information
Californians & the Environment PPIC Survey Finds Air Pollution is an Important Environmental Issue to Californians 8/23/2011 The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) released a statewide survey in July titled “Californians & the Environment”. The PPIC’s goal for releasing this survey was to inform state policymakers, encourage discussion, and raise public awareness about Californians’ opinions on air pollution, global warming, and energy policy. Key findings regarding air pollution and the environment included:
- A small plurality of residents (27%) continue to name air pollution as the most important environmental issue facing the state, while far fewer mention other issues such as water pollution, water supply, energy or oil drilling, or gas prices. Just 4 percent name global warming.
- Los Angeles and Central Valley residents are more likely than residents elsewhere to say air pollution is a big problem in their region. About four in 10 residents say vehicle emissions are the top contributor to air pollution in their region.
The report states that two in three Californians consider air pollution in their region to be a big problem (29%) or somewhat of a problem (37%). Based on this survey, half of all adults in California believe that air pollution in their region is a very serious (19%) or a somewhat serious (34%) health threat to them and their immediate family. Compared to surveys in years past, Californians have become more aware of the danger to their health in the form of air pollution. Since first asking this question in 2006, adults have been divided on this issue except in 2007 (50% thought it was a problem, and 42% didn’t think it was an issue) and 2010 (41% thought yes, and 52% didn’t think it was a problem). In Los Angeles for example, the proportion calling air pollution a big problem reached a record high of 54 percent in July 2006, but dipped to 30 percent in July 2009. Get Involved: Click here to download the report
Yolo-Solano AQMD 40th Anniversary 2011 marks 40th anniversary of Yolo-Solano Air Quality Management District 7/26/2011 This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Yolo-Solano Air Quality Management District . The District was established in 1971 by a joint powers agreement between the Yolo and Solano County Boards of Supervisors. The District is governed by an air quality management board composed of representatives from both the county boards of supervisors and mayors or city council members from the cities within the District. The YSAQMD includes roughly 1,500 square miles and a population of approximately 325,000 people. As a public health agency under the Health and Safety code, the YSAQMD is empowered to adopt and enforce rules and regulations to achieve and maintain the state and federal ambient air quality standards in its jurisdiction. Some highlights of the District’s history include:
- 1992 – Board of Directors adopts an Air Quality Attainment Plan for the District as required by the California Clean Air Act (CCAA) to improve air quality in Yolo County and northeastern Solano County.
- 1994 – AB 8 funds from Solano County are designated for the reduction of air pollution from motor vehicles and incorporated into the Clean Air Funds grant program.
- 2006 – Regional Spare the Air program expands to year round notification with PM 2.5 forecasts from November through March.
- 2008 – The District adopted Rule 11.3 which required a District registration for every agricultural use engine rated greater than 50 hp. To date, the District has registered more than 750 engines.
Regional Transit Presents TransitRenewal Program 7/26/2011 The Sacramento Regional Transit District (RT) is in the process of developing “TransitRenewal,” a comprehensive operational analysis of the entire bus and light rail system. The analysis will be done by conducting an “in-depth transit service analysis, developing service standards, and gathering extensive community input,” says RT. In June 2010, Regional Transit implemented major service reductions. TransitRenewal will provide recommendations that will determine how to restore, restructure and improve transit service from 2012 through 2017. Community participation is needed to identify short-term opportunities and long-term recommendations that will benefit current riders and attract new riders. TransitRenewal will prioritize the transit needs for the Sacramento region. RT encourages participation in the process and invites everyone to complete the TransitRenewal survey online at www.sacrt.com/transitrenewal . Requests for printed copies of the survey or comments can be sent via email to the project team at email@example.com. Get Involved: To learn more about the program, visit the TransitRenewal website
Infill Streamlining Program Available “ISP” provides assistance to local jurisdictions to curb air pollution 7/26/2011 The Sacramento Region Air Quality and the Infill Streamlining Program (ISP) is a new grant program to assist the Sacramento Region in meeting federal air quality standards and the requirements of California’s Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008 (SB 375). The ISP provides technical and financial assistance to local jurisdictions to facilitate community planning projects in infill locations, to improve air quality through land use measures that help reduce vehicle miles traveled. “The Infill Streamlining Program is an innovative tool to help cities and counties plan for communities that help reduce automobile traffic, a major cause of air pollution in the Sacramento region,” said Larry Greene, Air Pollution Control Officer from the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District. Through funding provided by the five air districts in the Sacramento Region, the ISP is operated by the Local Government Commission with oversight by the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District. Despite being a relatively young program, the ISP has proven to be very popular in the region with a high level of competition for the limited resources that are currently available. Current projects include:
- Citrus Heights Antelope Crossing Transformation – Transform 46 acres of underutilized suburban commercial to revitalize the area, providing a mix of complementary land uses with pedestrian-scaled design and high multi-modal connectivity through pedestrian access network and bicycle facilities
- Winters Alley Activation with Multi-Modal Connections – Activate the alley behind the Palms Playhouse, including streetscape and other improvements to create a pedestrian space
- Galt Mixed-Use Transit Hub – Urban design plan to create a mixed use transit hub in downtown Galt, at a site that is slated for a future high speed rail station
Get Involved: Click here for more information
Larry Greene Named Environmental Sustainability Leader of the Year Sacramento Air Pollution Control Officer honored at Valley Vision event 6/7/2011 Larry Greene, Executive Director for the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District, received the Environmental Sustainability Leader of the Year award at Valley Vision’s Legacy Feast event on May 19, 2011. Each year Valley Vision honors three deserving leaders whose are making the Sacramento Region more prosperous, just, and sustainable. In addition to Larry, Meg Arnold of SARTA was honored as the Economic Leader of the Year and Scott Hanson of Hanson McClain received the Social Equity Leader of the Year award. The Regional Environmental Leader is given to an individual for significant positive environmental impacts in the Sacramento Region. “Larry is one of our region’s best public servants,” said Bill Mueller, CEO and Managing Partner of Valley Vision. “It is not only that he is deeply passionate about improving our region’s air quality and incredibly knowledgeable about technical and policy matters related to fighting pollution. It’s the fact that Larry doesn’t shy away from inventing new ways of doing things to achieve results. Larry is more than just an air quality manager — he is a leader in every sense of the word.” In addition to receiving a special award at a ceremony during Valley Vision’s Legacy Feast event at the California History Museum, each winner received a $3,000 cash grant to bestow to a nonprofit that is providing the next generation of leadership. Larry’s grant was awarded to WALKSacramento, a nonprofit community organization working to create walkable communities with communities of walkers throughout the Sacramento metropolitan region.
Sacramento Region Air Advocate to Lead San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber Matt Mahood’s leadership contributed to CAP’s Success 6/7/2011 For 25 years the Cleaner Air Partnership has brought business and public-health interests together to find common ground when working to clean the Region’s air. While these groups do not always align, there have been many successes over the past nine years, in part due to the leadership of Matt Mahood, President and CEO of the Sacramento Metro Chamber. Matt will leave Sacramento at the end of this month to become the President and CEO of the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce. Matt understands the impact air quality has on the Region’s business community and actively engaged in conversations to address the Region’s challenges. “It says a lot when leaders in the region make the commitment to gather at 8am and discuss air quality and the associated complexities, especially when your calendar is as crowded as Matt Mahood’s,” said Tom Stallard, Chairman of the Cleaner Air Partnership. “But Matt was a regular with us, and this personal commitment on his part made a huge difference in what we have been able to accomplish for air quality in our region. The Cleaner Air Partnership is grateful for his contributions to our efforts.” Matt’s involvement in the advocacy efforts of the Cleaner Air Partnership made a big difference in helping the group achieve its public policy priorities. At the State level there is now an Air Quality team participating in the Metro Chamber’s State Legislative Summit, and at the Federal level the Cleaner Air Partnership leads the Air Quality Cap-to-Cap team to Washington, DC. Additionally, through Matt’s leadership the business community engaged in matters relating to improving air quality and brought funding support to the Cleaner Air Partnership. Martha Clark Lofgren, Partner at Brewer Lofgren LLP, will serve as the interim President and CEO of the Sacramento Metro Chamber until a permanent replacement is selected in early fall.
Cleaner Air Partnership – 2011 Regional Clean Air Champion 25-year old Partnership Recognized at Clean Air Awards Luncheon 5/23/2011 On Friday May 20th, the Cleaner Air Partnership (CAP) was honored at the Breathe California of Sacramento-Emigrant Trails’ 35th annual Clean Air Awards luncheon as the 2011 Regional Clean Air Champion. “It’s hard to remember back 25 years when the Cleaner Air Partnership was founded, but it was born in conflict and controversy. The business and environmental communities communicated only by lawsuit. It was inefficient and wasteful,” said Tom Stallard, Chairman of the Cleaner Air Partnership. “Dialogue and partnership mark our situation today. Through the Cleaner Air Partnership we have found common ground and shared priorities. Today we no longer think of ourselves as representing business or environmental interests, but instead representing the goals and priorities of all people in our region.” The Regional Clean Air Award is given to an organization or individual who has made outstanding contributions resulting in specific efforts or programs that improve air quality on a regional, multi-county basis. Former CAP Chairman Suzanne Phinney said that there are not many organizations that are still active and relevant after 25 years. The Cleaner Air Partnership has achieved significant accomplishments since its founding, including:
- Tightened up regulations on industry;
- Instituted Bay Area Smog Check II that reduces transport of auto pollution up the valley to the Sacramento region;
- Shifted private and public vehicle fleets to clean-burning fuels;
- Expanded light rail and other alternative modes of transit; and
- Sought incentive-based approaches to change-out old wood-burning stoves, and more.
“It takes a long time for social change,” said Jude Lamare, Cleaner Air Partnership Director Emeritus. “Working together in venues such as the Cleaner Air Partnership builds pathways to change in the community.” As a result of the Cleaner Air Partnership and others’ efforts, the Sacramento Region has experienced a 41% reduction in NOx emissions since 1990, despite a 40% increase in population. Get Involved: Click here to watch the award video
CAP Report Covering Nine Critical Performance Indicators Shows Sacramento’s Air Quality Improving Reductions in soot and smog despite a 40% increase in population 5/12/2011 In the last 20 years, the Sacramento Region has made substantial air quality improvements, despite a 40% increase in population. The Cleaner Air Partnership’s inaugural 2011 Sacramento Region Air Quality Progress Report and its companion Summary Sheet tell the story of how air quality, public health and economic vitality in the Sacramento Region are connected. The 21-page report, using data from federal, state, regional, and local government sources, found that:
- Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) – one of the main ingredients of smog – has decreased 41% since 1990 in the Sacramento Region and that Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s), similar to NOx, has decreased 53% since 1990;
- Fine particulate matter – soot – that can go deep into the lungs and cause immediate health problems – has been cut by 68% since 1998; and
- Since 1996 the Sacramento Region has provided nearly $140 million in matching funds to support efforts to reduce pollution from mobile sources like big semi trucks and passenger cars – a significant investment when compared per capita to other metropolitan areas.
While significant progress has been made to reduce smog and soot over two decades, the report found the region needs to do more to reduce the health impacts triggered by poor air quality. The rate of asthma hospitalizations has trended downward since 2001, but the report noted 2,233 hospitalizations in 2009 – a figure still too high. And long-term exposure to fine soot, smaller than 2.5 microns, has been shown to have a causal result in premature cardiopulmonary deaths, causing 640 premature deaths annually in the Sacramento Valley.
Meetings in D.C. Yield Policy Wins, Critical Insights 5/12/2011 Reflecting on the 2011 five-day Capitol to Capitol Trip, hosted by the Sacramento Metro Chamber, the Executive Director of the Sacramento Regional Air Quality Management District Larry Greene, the Environmental Manager for Teichert Aggregates Becky Wood, and the CEO of Breathe California of Sacramento Emigrant Trails, Kori Titus, talked about what they accomplished and insights gained at this year’s event. Nearly 300 attended the event, and over 240 meetings were held in five days with the Congress, Senate, and Administration. The Air Quality Team was one of a dozen teams that advanced issues of concern to policy makers there. Here’s what they said: Q. Now in its 41st year, what made this year’s “Cap to Cap” trip different from the rest? Greene: On a negative side, the difficulties in D.C. with the budget and partisanship cast a shadow over every conversation. On a positive side, I think our Air Quality Team and process gets more effective each year and our positive attitude and success stories were welcome news in the context of Washington, D.C. today. Q. In your view, what was the major accomplishment in 2011 and why? Greene: Receiving the news about the 1-Hour attainment letter signed by the EPA Region IX Administrator on Monday moved us toward attaining that standard in a way that benefits our business community. (Click here to learn more.) On a less global note I think our meetings with EPA were excellent, and our work to ensure CMAQ (Congestion Mitigation Air Quality) funding remains in the Transportation program were important. Titus: Showcasing the innovative solutions we have pioneered in the region. We were able to show key decision makers that we can deliver on, and exceed, our promises. I believe that from these discussions Sacramento will be the first region thought of when new programs need to be tested and resources are made available. Q. Why does Cap to Cap matter to the Air District? How and why does it advance your interests? Greene: For each of the issue areas that are key to attaining our air quality standards, having the support of the Cap to Cap regional team enhances our ability to get attention, resources and resolution to issues. Cap to Cap gets us in doors that would otherwise be unavailable. Cap to Cap also provides the forum to find issue areas where we can enhance options that provide solutions to multiple regional issues. Q. What are the lessons you took away from Washington, D.C., this year? Wood: It is as important to listen some years as much as it is to talk and inform. We listened to the concerns voiced about the direction the country is headed and hopefully can come back with positions that work within the current funding constraints faced by the country. Q. What was the significance of this year’s trip, in your estimation? Titus: Cap to Cap was a chance to share the air quality successes of the Sacramento Region with our elected leaders and key departments. It was also an opportunity to showcase how we can leverage resources and work together to overcome the challenges we continue to face. Q. What’s next? Titus: We have to continue to work collectively in our region if we have any hope of achieving the challenging air quality goals we face. We need to continue to think out of the box, particularly as resources become scarce. And we have to fight to keep the funding we need flowing to the local level so that we can have healthy air for our children and grandchildren.
Placer County APCD Recognized by U.S. EPA Innovative biomass project receives Clean Air Excellence Award 4/25/2011 Placer County’s Forest Resource Sustainability project has received the 2010 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Clean Air Excellence Award in the Community Action category. The Clean Air Excellence Awards Program annually recognizes and honors outstanding and innovative efforts to achieve cleaner air. The Community Action Award is bestowed upon a community public-private partnership that reduces pollutant emissions and engages a diverse group of stakeholders in efforts to improve air quality. Rather than burning the waste collected through efforts to reduce wildfire fuel hazards, the Forest Resource Sustainability project converts the woody biomass to renewable electricity. In the past four years the project has generated enough electricity to power more than 1,500 homes for one year, and achieved significant air pollution reductions. According to the EPA, this project stood out from the over 75 applications received for its impact, innovation and replicability. “We are pleased that EPA has recognized our efforts at reducing both air pollution and the risks of catastrophic wild fires through the harvest, processing, and conversion of excess forest biomass into renewable energy,” said Tom Christofk, Air Pollution Control Officer for the Placer County Air Pollution Control District (APCD). Tom Christofk will accept the award on behalf of the Placer County APCD at the 2011 Clean Air Excellence Awards Ceremony in Washington, D.C. on June 7, 2011.
May is Bike Month! Ride a bicycle, log miles, win prizes 4/25/2011 Dust off the bike seat, pull out your helmet and pump up those tires – it is time to get ready for May is Bike Month! May is Bike Month encourages residents in the six-county Sacramento Region to log commute, errand and recreation miles at www.mayisbikemonth.com and become eligible to win weekly prizes. Using active transportation, such as riding a bike, improves public health and air quality. According to the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District, the Sacramento Region avoided release of 488,290 pounds of global-warming CO2 into the atmosphere and saved 25,116 gallons of gasoline due to the number of commute and errand miles ridden in May 2010. May is Bike Month organizers encourage residents to bicycle to work, for exercise, or for errands and help the region meet the challenging goal of riding a collective two million miles in the month of May. Get Involved: May is Bike Month
Employment Density Can Reduce VMT PPIC recommends how to reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT) 3/10/2011 The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) recently released a new report Driving Change: Reducing Vehicle Miles Traveled in California. In response to Senate Bill 375 (SB 375), the report reviews and evaluates strategies to reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT) including higher-density development, investments in alternatives to solo driving, and pricing policies. A significant finding from this PPIC report is that “…employment density matters more than residential density for encouraging transit use as an alternative to driving.” The study found that it is relatively easy for commuters to drive or bike to a transit station but there are fewer options to connect to make longer distance treks from the transit station to the workplace. California is above the national average for residential density, and although California is lower than the national average for employment density, Sacramento is one of the only two major metropolitan areas in California which has higher employment density than residential density. Although unpopular with a majority of voters, the report suggests that raising road use fees through the traditional gas tax or a new fee based on vehicle miles traveled could help close the gaps in transportation funding. Get Involved: Click here to find links for the full report and a summary
Union Pacific Railroad Receives Environmental Award Genset locomotive technology reduces air pollution emissions, heralded by State 2/16/2011 Union Pacific Railroad received the 2010 Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (GEELA), California’s highest and most prestigious environmental honor, for their ultra-low emitting Genset locomotive. The award recognizes individuals, organizations and businesses that have demonstrated exceptional leadership for voluntary achievements in conserving California’s resources, protecting and enhancing the environment and building public-private partnerships. Union Pacific developed the Genset ultra-low emitting locomotive and piloted the technology at the Roseville rail yards and helps address emission concerns associated with idling. These locomotives use low-emissions EPA-certified “off-road” diesel engines and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 37 percent, emissions of oxides of nitrogen by 80 percent, and particulate matter by 90 percent compared to older switching locomotives. Union Pacific currently has nearly 70 of these ultra-low emission locomotives operating in California. “This honor recognizes Union Pacific’s ongoing commitment to developing new technologies that bolster our environmentally friendly transportation of freight,” said Mike Iden, Union Pacific general director, car and locomotive engineering. “American businesses and consumers depend on Union Pacific to safely and reliably deliver the products they need and use every day. We are proud of our leadership role in developing and implementing new technologies and practices that further our ability to keep America moving with greater environmental efficiency.”
Woody Biomass Used as Fuel Reduces Air Pollution Publication quantifies air emission reductions of biomass disposal methods 2/16/2011 Air Quality leaders in Placer County recently authored an important research article entitled “Emission Reductions from Woody Biomass Waste for Energy as an Alternative to Open Burning” recently published in the Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association. The Journal is the oldest continuously published, peer reviewed, technical environmental journal in the world, featuring the latest in cutting-edge research and technology. Wood smoke is the largest source of particulate matter (PM) in Placer County. Particulate matter, or soot, has been found to cause lung irritation and aggravate asthma. The authors of this article sought to evaluate a solution which would remove woody biomass fuel hazards, reducing the severity of wildfires, in a manner that decreases particulate matter emissions. The article assesses the air quality impact of traditional open pile burning compared to an alternative fate – utilization of woody biomass material as fuel for renewable energy production. Based on the results of the demonstration, their study found that biomass converted to energy reduced PM emissions by 98% and nitrogen oxides (NOx) by 54%. Although processing and transporting biomass material to a renewable energy facility results in significant air quality benefits, to make this solution economically feasible the cost to process and transport the biomass must be reduced or emission reduction credits must be sold. “This case study confirms the significant net benefits accrued from diversion of woody biomass material away from business as usual pile and burn techniques when compared to the alternative fate of utilizing this material for the generation of renewable energy” noted Bruce Springsteen, the lead author of the article.
Quarterly Luncheon focuses on Cap and Trade 12/3/2010 The Cleaner Air Partnership hosted a discussion about the upcoming California Air Resources Board (ARB) Cap and Trade program at the December 3, 2010 Quarterly Luncheon. Jamie Fine, an Economist with the Environmental Defense Fund, shared Cap-and-Trade 101 with the group. Brieanne Aguila with ARB provided a verbal overview of the ARB Cap-and-Trade proposal followed by Bill Westerfield sharing SMUD’s concerns and focus areas regarding implementation of the cap and trade program. The Cap and Trade program strives to meet the requirements defined by California’s Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32) to provide a statewide emissions cap, protect and benefit low-income and disadvantaged communities, while minimizing costs and allow flexibility to businesses in how they meet their targets. This program will be considered by the ARB Board at the December 16, 2010 meeting, with a planned implementation date of January 1, 2012.
Breathe California Launches Air Quality iPhone App iBreathe mobile app: Air quality info goes high-tech 8/20/2010 The Sacramento Region is ranked as having some of the worst air quality in the nation and asthma and other damaging health impacts affect far too many people here. To help parents, kids, seniors, and advocates get instant access to the latest air quality conditions, Breathe California of Sacramento-Emigrant Trails (BCSET) teamed up with the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District (SMAQMD) to develop a new mobile iPhone application – iBreathe: Sacramento. This new application puts air quality conditions in the hands of iPhone users, displaying air quality information on 15 areas and cities in the Greater Sacramento region. Data are provided in real-time, and notifications can be customized by level of sensitivity and by geographic area. With an easy-to-understand map of air quality, users can make more informed choices regarding outdoor activities and modes of transportation, leading to improved health and regional air quality. The iBreathe: Sacramento app can be downloaded at no charge at the iTunes store. Non-iPhone users can find forecast information directly at www.sparetheair.com. Get Involved: iBreathe App
PPIC Releases 2010 Environment Survey Californians name air pollution the State’s most important environmental issue 8/20/2010 The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) recently released their 2010 statewide survey of Californians and the Environment. The survey found that air pollution continues to be the most important environmental issue to Californians, with majorities of residents in Los Angeles, the Inland Empire (Riverside and San Bernardino Counties), and the Central Valley (from Shasta to Kern County) saying air pollution is a very serious or somewhat serious health threat. The PPIC survey found the majority of Californians are supportive of tougher air pollution standards and regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The results showed positive support for reduced pollution from new automobile designs, industrial plants, and improved land-use planning, but the survey did not inquire about personal lifestyle changes the survey participants would be willing to make. A majority of Californians (67%) and likely voters (61%) continue to support AB 32, California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in California to 1990 levels by the year 2020. Mark Baldassare, PPIC president and CEO said “The lingering effect of the recession and a continuing state budget crisis haven’t changed Californians’ overall view of AB 32. While support has declined somewhat since 2007, a solid majority still favors the law.” When likely voters were interviewed about the timing of AB 32 implementation, there was an even split with 48% believing California should implement immediately and 48% preferring to wait for an improved economy and job market. Get Involved: Click here for the full report
Goods Movement Discussed at Quarterly Luncheon 6/11/2010 Over 45 people participated in a conversation about goods movement in the region at a recent quarterly luncheon held at the West Sacramento City Hall Galleria. Following an overview from Michael Faust of the Sacramento Metro Chamber, the participants heard from Scott Moore, Vice President of Public Affairs with Union Pacific; Tom Scheeler, Port Engineer with the Port of West Sacramento; and Glen Rickelton, Airport Manager for Planning and Environment with the Sacramento County Airport System. Their presentations are available on the Cleaner Air Partnership website.
Washington Hears from Air Quality Team on Key Regional Issues 4/29/2010 “When more than 300 leaders from business, government, and the nonprofit sector descend on Washington, D.C. for three intense days of meetings with their representatives each spring, the issues they raise tend to get noticed. That fact was on full display for the 40th Capitol-to-Capitol trip, the largest program of its kind in the United States, hosted by the Sacramento Metro Chamber. The delegation has shrunk a bit since its peak of 400 attendees several years ago, but its impact is no less felt on Capitol Hill. And what was the most valuable aspect of the trip this year for the nine-member Air Quality Team? According to Becky Wood, Environmental Manager for Teichert Materials and a co-chair for Air Quality Team, the trip deepened the bonds of the Cleaner Air Partnership. “By having many members of the Partnership together back in D.C. working on these regional issues it strengthens the Partnership for the work we do all year long. It gives a voice to the reality that public health and good business do go hand in hand and that we can find common ground.” The Air Quality Team took seven issues to Washington, D.C. this year, having vetted them with experts and advocates back home over several months. Issues included (1) encouraging the U.S. EPA to act on our “Regional Exceptional Event” request by May 2010; (2) supporting integrated transportation, economic, and land use models being piloted in our region; (3) maintaining current funding levels for the Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ) program; (4) maintaining funding levels for air quality grants for state and local agencies; (5) appropriating $3 million for incentive programs to help retire older wood stoves; (6) supporting state and local flexibility in developing greenhouse gas regulations; and (7) advancing policies that improve waste-to-biomass opportunities on public lands. The Air Quality Team had some 20 meetings in two days involving Senate, House, and Administration leaders and their staff. The results were favorable. “Two of our three meetings with EPA were very well received and provided some great opportunities for future collaboration. It was important for EPA leadership to see the cross level coordination of Cap-to-Cap,” said Larry Greene, Air Pollution Control Officer for the Sacramento Metro Air Quality Management District and a team co-chair. Becky Wood agreed. “The most significant outcome was the bipartisan commitment from our Representatives to help us with our policy issues if we need them to weigh in with the agencies. The current partisan nature of Washington was transcended in our meetings with members from both sides of the political spectrum who could see the wisdom of supporting our issues because we had brought together the major parties from the region (regulator, nonprofit, and business) to make improvements for both public health and business,” said Wood. So what’s next? “I think we set the stage for a number of issues that will come up in future legislation on climate change and transportation reauthorization and have good buy-in from our Congressional Representatives for future support on those issues,” Greene concluded. Bill Mueller CEO & Managing Partner, Valley Vision, Inc.
United Nations Climate Change Conference Identified General Areas of Agreement Local climate change activities emphasized 2/23/2010 Thousands of delegates from around the world descended on Copenhagen, through the ice and snow, to convene at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in early December 2009. Larry Greene, Air Pollution Control Officer for the Sacramento Metro Air Quality Management District, attended the conference as the co-president of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies (NACAA). Larry recently shared with the Cleaner Air Partnership Executive Committee the below observations from his experience at the event:
- Much of the world is living with visible and impacting climate impacts right now;
- Climate action will require both enlightened leadership from leading countries or will be triggered by a major event;
- The best chance for climate action is appearing to be outside the United Nations context, at a sub-national level (e.g. State of California); and
- A United States solution will require bipartisan leadership.
In his speech at the conference, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger reinforced the idea of continuing climate work at the local level stating, “While national governments have been fighting over emission targets, sub-national governments have been adopting their own targets and laws and policies. I would ask the U.N. to convene a climate summit like Copenhagen but for cities, for states, for provinces and for regions.” The conference concluded with general areas of agreement on the topics of reducing emissions, verification, financing and deforestation, leaving implementation details to be resolved at a later time.
Energy Improvement Financing Program to Launch in 2010 Green Capital Alliance facilitates regional AB811 effort 11/23/2009 The Green Capital Alliance (GCA), managed by Valley Vision, is a coalition of business, education, labor, utility and economic development organizations working on coordinated actions to strengthen the Sacramento Region’s green technology sector. Since July, GCA has been facilitating a regional AB 811 Working Group focused on bringing AB 811-type property-tax-based financing programs to the Sacramento region. AB811 permits the creation of assessment districts to finance installation of energy improvements which are permanently fixed to residential and commercial properties. This program removes up-front costs and associated financing as an impediment for property owners installing energy improvements. Financing for energy improvements through the AB811 program are repaid through property tax bills, with repayment obligations transferring with ownership. Interest has grown quickly throughout the region with at least 12 jurisdictions moving forward with AB811 programs in 2010. These programs are win-wins for economic development and the environment by enabling a voluntary financing mechanism through property taxes for energy efficiency improvements. Get Involved: Green Capital Alliance Website
Area Air Pollution Control Officers Share the “State of Air Quality” Incentive programs provide a positive impact to air quality in 2009 11/23/2009 Air Pollution Control Officers (APCO) from three of the region’s Air Quality Management Districts (AQMD) shared the “State of Air Quality” in their respective districts at the Cleaner Air Partnership Quarterly Luncheon on November 13th. Tom Christofk from Placer County, Mat Ehrhardt from Yolo-Solano, and Larry Greene from the Sacramento Metropolitan AQMD emphasized the importance of meeting State and Federal air quality requirements through locally generated solutions which meet the needs of our diverse region. Incentive-based programs were noted by the panelists as key to improving air quality in 2009. Regional participation in activities such as clean engine conversions, funded by the Moyer program, demonstrates the collaborative efforts of the region’s air districts. The APCOs also highlighted incentives such as wood-stove change-out, gas mower exchange, and “Check Before You Burn” type programs as meaningful in 2009. Tom Christofk commented “As a Pollution Control Officer I do not prefer air quality regulations; rather, I favor a focus on market-place mechanisms which provide environmental benefits.” The panelists recommended focus areas for 2010, which include:
- Quantifying Greenhouse Gas Mitigation impacts to support project analysis
- Supporting implementation of AB811, voluntary property tax financing for energy efficiency upgrades
- Installing additional real-time PM2.5 particulate matter monitors
- Linking health to land-use
- Meeting SB375 targets
Wood Burning Rule Amendments Passed Changes to Rule 421 will help improve winter air quality 10/2/2009 The Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District’s (SMAQMD) Board approved changes to the Sacramento County wood burning regulations (Rule 421) at their meeting on September 24th. This rule restricts burning wood when air pollution levels are predicted to exceed federal health standards during the winter season. The Cleaner Air Partnership supported the amendments to Rule 421, and thanks the SMAQMD Board for taking action to improve our air quality. These changes, which incorporated public and industry feedback, will add approximately 5 additional No Burn days to the 4-month season (on average there are 23 No Burn days per season), while giving residents cleaner air and avoiding 3 more federal health standard exceedances. These changes are necessary to improve public health and help our region make progress toward the federal air quality standards during our 3 year review period beginning in 2010, and may avoid the need to adopt other more stringent and costly regulations that could affect homeowners, businesses, and agriculture. We thank all who offered support for these important improvements to our region’s air quality.
Breathe California of Sacramento-Emigrant Trails Evaluates 8 DRUM Monitor BCSET compares 8 DRUM Data with California Air Resources Board FRM data at 13th and T Street Site 6/18/2009 Under the leadership of the Breathe California’s Health Effects Task Force, this one year side by side monitoring study was sanctioned by the California Air Resources Board and conducted at its 13th and T Street site. The study compares mass data collected by the U.C. Davis rotating drum impactor (8 DRUM) with ARB’s standard mass monitoring measurements (FRM) required by law. The study showed that the 8 DRUM monitor proved to be a cost effective way to obtain important additional data for health and regulatory needs, while being accurately comparable to the ARB’s mass measurements. In particular, the U.C. Davis 8 DRUM provided vital new data about ultrafine particulate matter which research now confirms is capable of deep lung deposition, and heart and brain impacts. Get Involved: For more details, visit the BCSET website
Results for the 2008 – 2009 Season Check Before You Burn Program Program brings improved public awareness and air quality, falls short of the federal health standard 5/1/2009 The Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District’s Check Before You Burn program ended its second season on February 28. This regulation prohibits wood burning throughout Sacramento County and its cities including Citrus Heights, Elk Grove, Folsom, Galt, Isleton, Rancho Cordova, and Sacramento from November to February on poor air quality days. Thanks to partnerships with community groups and local weathercasters, tremendous public awareness and support has been achieved in a short time – 92 percent of those surveyed knew about burning restrictions and up to 52 percent reduced burning when required. These efforts achieved significant air quality benefits – reducing fine particle pollution up to 23 percent, with the greatest benefits in the evening hours. While those reductions are impressive, they’re not enough to achieve the federal health standard. In particular, on days when EPA certified devices and pellet stoves are exempt from burning restrictions the benefits are 13 percent lower, and 84 percent of owners didn’t use the exemption. The AQMD plans to workshop rule changes in July 2009 and seek board approval in September.
Regional Air Quality Plan Adopted Area Officials Approve New 8-Hour Ozone Standard 2/20/2009 The Board of Directors of the air districts in the Sacramento Federal Nonattainment Area have adopted the Sacramento Regional 8-Hour Ozone Attainment and Reasonable Further Progress Plan (Plan). The Plan will reduce emissions at the required rate of 3% per year and help us reach the 8-Hour Ozone standard by 2018. This Plan, after two years in development, was approved by air quality officials in the El Dorado, Feather River, Placer County, Sacramento Metropolitan and Yolo-Solano Air Quality Management Districts. In addition to the Plan adoption, the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District certified the Plan’s Environmental Impact Report, which addresses the potential environmental impacts associated with the Plan. Get Involved: For more information, visit the Sacramento Air District Website
Landmark Breathe California air quality study now underway 1/29/2009 On January 5, 2009 an important new air quality study began with the placement of 8 DRUM Samplers at five sites along California’s Central Valley, in Redding, Chico, Sacramento, Fresno and Bakersfield. This landmark study, sponsored by Breathe California of Sacramento-Emigrant Trails (BCSET) under the volunteer leadership of Dr. Thomas A. Cahill, PhD, University of California, Davis, will record levels of pollutants along the Valley in 8 size modes, including ultra fine particulates, which, if inhaled, can evade the lung’s defenses to enter the bloodstream, raising the risk of cardiovascular disease and damage to the brain, as well as lung disease. Part of an ongoing effort by BCSET to better understand the nature of particulate air pollution in our region, this pioneer study marks the first research effort ever to simultaneously capture levels of ultrafine particulate pollution along the entire California Central Valley. This study is just the first to take place in 2009. A second study on the health benefits of vegetation appropriately placed adjacent to freeways, will begin at the end of January. For further information contact Kori Titus at (916) 444-5900 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Greenhouse law creates long list of decisions Scoping plan underway 2/14/2008 Carrying out California’s landmark greenhouse gas reduction law AB 32 may be a long-term proposition, but important decisions and hearings are popping up seemingly every month about how to get it done. At our September quarterly luncheon, the Cleaner Air Partnership invited Democratic state Assemblyman Dave Jones, Republican Assemblyman Roger Niello and Kevin Kennedy from the California Air Resources Board to update us on the status of AB 32 implementation and chat about issues and opinions surrounding it. AB 32 mandates that California reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Long-term state goals call for reductions far under 1990 levels by 2050. One of the remarkable things about AB 32 is that it touches just about everything in the state economy, Kennedy told us. The air board is developing a scoping plan for measures aimed at larger sources of GHGs, and will begin holding workshops on it this November. This winter CARB is also expected to set the 1990 baseline of greenhouse gases to measure future reductions against, and to set mandatory GHG reporting requirements for some industry sectors, Kennedy said. The air board has already adopted an initial list of early action measures designed to help begin reducing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases while the agency works to finalize the core measures at the heart of AB 32. Among the first list of early action measures, Kennedy said, are a new low-carbon fuel standard for autos, restrictions on some refrigerants, and techniques to improve the capture of methane from landfills. Additions proposed this summer include measures affecting truck efficiency, green ports, consumer spray products, semiconductor manufacturing processes and a push to promote proper auto tire inflation. Kennedy also outlined details and key questions about how his team at CARB will evaluate the possible role of market-based programs such as incentives, subsidies and carbon trading in AB 32. The law does not mandate market programs, but includes them as options. Kennedy said possible benefits could include lower implementation costs, early emission reductions and incentivization of new technology. There is a long list of policy questions to consider in the analysis, Kennedy said, such as how to determine the price of carbon and how to harmonize a California trading system with other states and markets. The agency is studying lessons from similar programs in Europe, Southern California and the Northeastern U.S., he said. Jones said Democrats are concerned there’s not enough funding to research carbon trading in the depth needed considering the problems that emerged in other programs. Incorporating land use into AB 32 is also critical, he said. I’m concerned we’re not putting enough time and resources there, he told us. But some believe the state should proceed more carefully in light of contrary opinions and doubts about climate changes causes, Niello said. Overemphasis on prevention could leave few resources for mitigation, he said. We should be moving extremely cautiously, he said.
NorCal air quality challenges as diverse as the landscape Bay Area, San Joaquin, Sacramento compare notes 2/13/2008 Northern California air quality advocates and regulators face widely different geographic and political landscapes, but still have plenty of useful lessons to share about cleaning the air. That was a takeaway from our July Cleaner Air Partnership quarterly luncheon, when we invited leaders from air agencies in the San Francisco Bay Area and San Joaquin Valley to discuss their unique challenges, current activities and lessons learned. The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District is the nation’s largest in area with eight counties and 25,000 square miles, said the district’s Special Projects Administrator Tom Jordan. Yet, it’s home to just three million people. While emissions-per-square-mile there are lower than in the Bay Area, nasty inversion layers trap smog and soot in the valley in both summer and winter, Jordan said. The Valley’s level of nonattainment with federal ozone smog standards is classified as the most severe extreme level. Because of our climate and geography, we have a challenge unmatched by any, Jordan said. That doesn’t mean there isn’t good news. The district has greatly reduced pollution since 1990, Jordan said, and will soon comply with federal standards for large soot or particles. And while the district recently pushed its official target for attainment with ozone smog standards to 2023, many areas of the district will be in compliance much sooner, he said. A key to meeting the ozone smog standards, Jordan said, will come in the form of clean-air incentive programs that help reduce pollution from mobile sources. Vehicle emissions are regulated by state and federal agencies rather than local districts. The district banned residential woodburning on bad-air days to reduce lung-damaging fine soot. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District will also begin focusing on fine soot because it’s not expected to meet new federal health standards, said the district’s Deputy Air Pollution Control Officer Jean Roggenkamp. Although it has more than twice as many residents as San Joaquin, the Bay Area is only in borderline or marginal nonattainment with federal ozone smog standards, partially a function of temperature and breezes. (Sacramento is rated at an in-between serious level). However, rising temperatures and more extreme heat days from climate change could threaten to erode progress, which is one reason why the district launched its own climate change program two years ago, Roggenkamp said. An environmentally aware business community was a help, she said. There will be heat impacts, she said. It’s important to get started now and do what we can. PHOTO BY Rich Niewiroski Jr.
Report: regional blueprint helps fight climate change Study calls Sacramento region’s plan a national model 2/13/2008 A new report on climate change praises the Sacramento region and its award-winning Regional Blueprint Transportation and Land-Use Study as a tool to reduce greenhouse gases. The Urban Land Institute/Smart Growth America report Growing Cooler: The Evidence on Urban Development and Climate Change cites the importance of land use in combating climate change, and cites the Blueprint as a model for local governments. Nearly every city and county in our region endorsed the results of the Blueprint, a voluntary land-use plan created by the Sacramento Area Council of Governments with help from Valley Vision and input from 5,000 citizens. The plan emphasizes infilling vacant or under-used land within existing cities to accommodate population growth, stresses locating jobs closer to homes and envisions more transportation options. If our region heeds its principles, the Blueprint is projected to help lower per-household vehicle miles traveled – a key air quality indicator – below current levels despite 50 percent population growth.
Tackling barriers to smart growth together 2/13/2008 Traditionally, cleaning our air has meant reducing pollution from mobile sources like diesel trucks and cars, or stationary sources such as power plants and industry. Over the past few years, a third pollution-fighting strategy has emerged – infilling – housing development within the borders of existing communities, creating less need for car trips and shorter trips when they occur. With a million people expected to move to our region in the next few decades, it’s no small matter. And we’re pleased to be tackling an exciting new project designed to help promote this style of development. Our six-month Infill Barriers Assessment project first seeks to identify barriers to infill development within Sacramento County and the cities within it. We’ll then prioritize the barriers that are suited for local action and develop strategies to help remove those at the top of the list. Finally, we’ll share these strategies and our research with key decision-makers in our region. We’re incorporating the views and opinions of a diverse sampling of more than 20 stakeholder organizations from the public, private, health and environmental sectors. They range from city and county governments and local agencies to builders with infill experience, the building industry association and environmental groups. Our project grew from a request by the North State Building Industry Association and Breathe California of Sacramento-Emigrant Trails to seek and share greater consensus on what is needed to promote infill development in the Sacramento area. The Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District (SMAQMD) is providing major financial support for the project, which is being coordinated by Valley Vision. Please check back for updates!
Praise for air-friendly workplaces Metro Chamber press events an avenue of recognition 5/24/2007 Clean air is good business, according to Sacramento Metro Chamber President and CEO Matt Mahood. That’s why the Chamber is challenging the region’s businesses to help spare the air through their business decisions and employee policies – and praising those that do, such as local environmental consulting firm Jones & Stokes. With more than 61,000 businesses in our region, the business community – and specifically, employers – play a vital role in improving air quality. The Chamber highlighted practices at Jones & Stokes – and challenged other businesses to follow step – at a press conference last year in advance of the summer smog season. Jones & Stokes provides bikes for errands, bike racks, showers and lockers and reimbursement for transit on Spare the Air days. It also has a formal telework policy and a fleet of hybrid vehicles. The Chamber also notifies member businesses about air alerts and reimburses employees for transit on those days. Get Involved: Metro Chamber website
Print and save: Metro Chamber Spare the Air tips Strategies help region retain transportation funding, quality of life 11/30/2006 Our region was near the bottom of the ‘place’ category in last year’s Sacramento Area Trade and Commerce Organization comparison of 11 competing U.S. regions. A key factor: our low score for air quality. It’s an important quality-of-life indicator for those who wish to attract and retain talented employees. According to the nonprofit CEOs for Cities, two-thirds of college-educated adults aged 25-34 decide first where to live, then where to work. Some tips from the Sacramento Metro Chamber on how your business or workplace can help protect our economy by improving our air:
- Encourage employees to sign up for free AirAlert notifications via home email or text messages. Appoint someone to distribute through company email, break rooms or on the P.A. system.
- Link to www.sparetheair.com on your company home page and Intranet.
- Offer a work-at-home or ‘telework’ option on Spare the Air days for employees who can complete tasks outside the office.
- Buy workers lunch on Spare the Air days. Regularly encourage employees to place lunch orders from the same restaurant or store, and send one employee to pick up.
- Promote carpooling. Sign up at www.sacregion511.org.
- Join a transportation management assocation (TMA) to for convenient commute options.
- Provide free or subsidized transit passes for employees.
Tiniest air pollution among the most harmful Cutting-edge Breathe California research tracks “ultrafine” soot particles 6/9/2006 By Dr. Tom Cahill UC Davis DELTA Group Breathe California Board Member Breathe California of Sacramento-Emigrant Trails is continuing independent research on particle pollution with a unique new study in Sacramento. Dr. Robert Sawyer, chairman of the California Air Resources Board, has approved Breathe California’s proposal to initiate one year of sampling for tiny soot particles called “very fine” and “ultrafine” particles at the Air Resources Board’s 13th and T Street monitoring site. Both are much smaller than the diameter of a human hair — very fine particles range from 0.25 to 0.09 microns in diameter, while ultrafines are below 0.09 microns. Both are also considered among the most toxic and damaging particles for lungs, but science is still emerging and neither is regulated by federal or state air agencies. Researchers with the UC Davis DELTA Group will provide a new 8 DRUM sampler (on loan from Johns Hopkins University) to measure very fines and ultrafines and also identify traces for separation of diesel exhaust from wood smoke. We will also solicit funds to identify the pollution contributions of diesels and smoking cars to the aerosols bathing downtown Sacramento. The studies are an outgrowth of earlier Breathe California efforts such as the 2002-2004 Sacramento I-5 Aerosol Transect Studies that measured aerosols across Sacramento to the foothills. To our knowledge, there is no equivalent study of size/time/and compositionally resolved aerosols. The data will help Breathe California develop its position on a new state standard for very fines and ultrafines that would allow much greater analyses on composition, mass, elements and the role of organic compounds. This could lead to aerosol-control strategies that are far more protective of health than are current standards. Get Involved: Breathe California website