Documenter: Angelica Hernandez

Purpose of Agency:

The San Joaquin Valley Air District is a public health agency whose mission is to improve the health and quality of life for all Valley residents through efficient, effective and entrepreneurial air quality management strategies.

The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District is made up of eight counties in California’s Central Valley: San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare and the San Joaquin Valley Air Basin portion of Kern.

San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District Board Members

Chair: Craig Pedersen (Supervisor, Kings County)

Vice Chair: Lloyd Pareira (Supervisor, Merced County)

Board Members: Drew M. Bessinger (Mayor, City of Clovis), Vito Chiesa (Supervisor, Stanislaus County), David Couch (Supervisor, Kern County), Christina Fugazi (Councilmember, City of Stockton), Buddy Mendes (Supervisor, Fresno County), Alvaro Preciado (Mayor Pro Tem, City of Avenal), Monte Reyes (Vice Mayor, City of Porterville), Robert Rickman (Supervisor, San Joaquin County), Amy Shuklian (Supervisor, Tulare County), Tom Wheeler (Supervisor, Madera County), Deborah Lewis (City of Los Banos, Mayor Pro Tem)

Appointed by Governor: Tania Pacheco-Werner, PhD., Alexander C. Sherriffs, M.D.

Executive Director: Samir Sheikh Air Pollution Control Officer

Administrator: Michelle Franco

The Scene:

The San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District Board Meeting was called to order at 9:03 a.m. by Chair Craig Pedersen. The meeting was facilitated by Michelle Franco over Zoom. Three Board members were physically in attendance in the District’s Governing Board Chambers: Chair Craig Pedersen, Dr. Tania Pacheco-Werner and Mayor Drew M. Bessinger. All other board members were in attendance via Zoom. Board Member Robert Rickman was not present during Roll Call. 

Board Meeting Agenda 


4. Consent Calendar Items 14 -19:

5. Public Comment: 

  • Connie Young: Fresno Resident, Retired Registered Nurse, Volunteer with Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL). Expressed gratitude for the board’s efforts to end ag burning, saying, “Not only will it improve our air quality but it will reduce the production of greenhouse gasses that are driving climate change.” Young said next week CCL volunteers will meet with members of Congress to lobby for putting a price on Carbon emissions in the form of Carbon Fee and Dividend. Young also claimed that Carbon Pricing is supported/endorsed locally by the Central California Environmental Justice Network and the Central Valley Air Quality Coalition.

  • Janet Dietz Camay: Expressed concern about “those who don’t acknowledge there is climate change. Cited ever increasing extreme weather events. 

  • Robert Rickman : Supervisor and Board Member called in to be added to the meeting.

  • Matt Holmes: Expressed support for AB 617 and mentioned a “hiccup” with the Port of Stockton. 

6. Report on District Citizens Advisory Committee Activities:

  • Due to Kevin Abernathy, the scheduled presenter not being present at the time, this agenda item was postponed. 

7. Receive And File District’s Annual Air Toxics Report For 2020

  • Presenter Morgan Lambert Deputy Air Pollution Control Officer 

    • Lambert defined Air Toxics as over 700 compounds that can cause short-term (acute) health impacts, or cancer/ long-term (chronic) health impacts. Ex: Diesel

    • Lambert presented data that showed the implementation of AB 2588 – Air Toxics “Hot Spots” Reporting and Assessment Act resulted in a 90% reduction in “Cancer Risk from Ambient Air” in the San Joaquin Valley between 1990 and 2019.

    • Current Activities of AB 2588:

      • Implementing a District Hot Spots Reassessment Plan to address OEHHA’s latest guidance changes.

      • Conducting Complex Risk Management Review to screen projects that require a health risk assessment before issuing permits

      • Incentive Based Measures like grants for clean air projects and public/private investments to reduce over 189,000 tons of emissions

      • Created streamlining tools and programs for facilities to evaluate air toxics impacts reducing time and costs of calculating emissions and risks to comply with AB 2588

  •  Board Member Comments:

    • Tania Pacheco-Werner asked if Lambert could walk her through the ways that they are assessing non-cancer risks to comply with OHEHHA’s assessment requirements. 

    • Lambert said they do measure and assess long term and short term-exposure to determine whether non-cancer risks are within an acceptable threshold. 

      • The report uses The National Air Toxics Assessment (NATA) to estimate cancer and non-cancer risks. More information can be found in the “Characterize potential health risks from inhalation” section of the 2014 NATA: Assessment Methods webpage.

  • Motion to receive and file District’s Annual Air Toxics Report For 2020 by Pacheco-Werner and seconded by Buddy Mendes 

    • The motion to receive and file the report passed unanimously. 

8. Authorize Executive Director/Apco to Enter into agreements with San Joaquin Valley Chambers Of Commerce To Implement Energy Efficiency Programs For A Total Amount Not To Exceed $50,000

  • Presenter Tom Jordan, Project Coordinator

    • Authorize the Executive Director/Air Pollution Control Officer (APCO), to execute agreements with San Joaquin Valley other Chambers of Commerce to implement “Green Team” programs like the one implemented by the Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce. 

    • Green Teams are designed to reduce operating costs by promoting recycling, energy efficiency, and air-quality education for Valley businesses and public agencies

    • Approval of this item would allow the Executive Director/APCO to develop work plans and agreements with other local chambers to ensure effective “Green Team” program implementation 

  • Without Board or Public Comment Motion was made by Alexander C. Sheriffs and seconded by Robert Rickman 

  • The motion on this agenda item passed unanimously. 

9. Adopt Proposed Community Emissions Reduction Program For Ab 617 Community Of Stockton

  • Presenter Samir Sheikh, Executive Director/APCO

    • To address community-level air quality concerns, the state enacted a new Community Air Protection Program under AB 617 in 2017.

    • Under the direction of the California Air Resources Board (CARB) AB 617 provides opportunity for bringing additional clean air resources to Valley communities and supports the clean air mission through the Community Emissions Reduction Program (CERP) .

    • CARB selected Stockton for CERP kicking off a one year process to develop this proposal with the input of an inclusive community steering committee

    • The proposal includes:

      • 1 Proposed Stockton CERP includes wide variety of clean air measures designed through cooperative community-driven process

      • Proposed Stockton CERP received unanimous support from CSC Incentive-based Strategies

      •  Exposure Reduction Strategies (air filtration at schools, vegetative barriers, etc.)

      •  Outreach & Engagement Strategies to improve air quality understanding

      •  Partnerships with Other Agencies (CARB, Cities, Counties, CalTrans, SJCOG, etc.)

      •  Regulatory Strategies

      •  Requires public process, extensive existing stationary and mobile source regulations

      •  Enforcement Strategies

      •  Focused enforcement efforts for local and state regulations

      • CERP includes investment of $32 million in clean air projects

      •  Expected to reduce NOx by 698 tons, PM2.5 by 66 tons, and 53 tons of VOC

    • Samir noted that the Port of Stockton was not included in this proposal although it is a major course of emissions in the community. 

  • Board Member Comments:

    • Drew M. Bessinger asked why the port was excluded? 

      • Samir answered that there was a desire to include the port in related emissions reduction efforts but the steering committee did not want to include it.

      • Bessinger asked if leaving them out of the proposal would “really get us where we want to go”? Bessinger called it a missed opportunity, saying that “This could be a model that other air districts could use. I hate to throw the baby out with the bathwater.”

    • Tania Pacheco-Werner,  commented that important lessons were learned about intensity of process. Thanked every resident involved in this process saying that very few were experts in complex issues. Pacheco-Werner asked if not including the Port was due to confusion about what they were voting for at the meeting?

      • Samir said that the steering committee helped draft four specific measures, but after a long process they were no longer interested in including the Port. 

    • Alexander C. Sherriffs, M.D. commented that not all plans are perfect. And he looks forward to the board working with the port in the future. 

    • Alvaro Preciado thanked everyone involved. He said it is unfortunate that the port was not included and cited confusion as a factor.  Said he hoped it would be left open to add or implement later.  “We cannot have a missing link”

    • Christina Fugazi said she was excited to be talking about Stockton. 

      • Fugazi detailed the countless steering committee meetings spent trying to iron out the issues with the port.

      • Fugazi said the public wants accountability and they were concerned they would not get that.

      • Fugazi said she agrees that no plan is perfect and is eager begin the implementation phase to avoid losing any funding

    • Craig Pedersen warned that these funds are fleeting and encouraged the board to act quickly, to  meet deadlines throughout the district. 

  • Public Comment:

    • Matt Holmes: Member of the steering committee with an asthmatic wife and mother-in-law with chronic bronchitis. Called it a difficult process to tackle an overwhelming lack of trust towards CARB. He said the biggest challenge was the arbitrary timetable during “a historic world changing pandemic”. Holmes said they should have given the committee more time and felt they should never have “been threatened that our funding would be taken away”. At one point, Holmes mentioned the timer on the screen was going too fast. Claiming the seconds were “faster than real seconds” 

    • Nate Knott: Member of the steering committee. Said the members unanimously voted to approve this proposal with more incentives and less punishment because “we want citizens to buy into this”. His perspective on the port issue; it’s an independent special district with independent funding. They don’t have to answer to anyone. Didn’t want to lose the entire CERP because of the port dispute. 

    • Ektor Olivares:  member of Catholic Charities said he supports the CERP but the air measures for the port would be difficult to implement. 

    • Janet Dietz Camay: Camay said she continues to see the value of AB 617 monitoring hot spots especially in disadvantaged communities facing air quality issues. Glad to have homes and schools included in monitoring but said she was surprised that the port was removed. Hoped that somehow it could be included.

    • Mary Elizabeth: Member of the steering committee. Argued that the final plan was cut short with folks leaving after a two hour meeting without a final vote on the port measures. Elizabeth said she would hate to lose this opportunity.

    • Connie Young: Congratulate all who worked on the plan, but said it  illustrates a need for a national policy that puts a price on both stationary and mobile sources of pollution.

    • Taylor Williams: Member of the steering committee. Williams alleged there were issues of process and transparency. Saying that language was made available the night of the vote, sometimes 10 minutes before. Williams called the port of Stockton a toxic neighbor. He said the committee proposed conditions that would make them more accountable and the Port denied them. 

    • Cynthia Pinto Cabrera: Said the process lacked equity. Data and info on the port was inadequate; there was a lack of attention to enforcement and unaddressed conflicts of interest. Said she was disappointed in the time investment into Port measures without an agreement but recommended that all adopted measures move forward.

    • Cynthia Lao: Commented on behalf of the Environmental Justice Coalition for Water to say thank you for selecting stockton. Lao said they voted yes to include the Port measures and were perplexed that we could not reach an agreement.

    • Margot Prouse: Retired RN living in the district and member of the steering committee. Prouse said it was a difficult process having to meet on zoom with 70-80 people. Prouse said the committee did not lack interest in including the port; they were getting close working through it when time ran out. They requested extra time that could not be given which was hard to understand. 

    • Jeff Wingfieild: Director of environmental and public affairs for the Port of Stockton. Wingfield said he volunteered to serve on the steering committee to continue the Port’s ongoing efforts to reduce emissions. He said the port was well on their way to reducing emissions before AB 617 group and it does not mean that progress has stopped. 

    • DB: A member of the steering committee. DB said he became confused when the port claimed they didn’t need AB 617 to allocate money. He said the committee asked them to open up about what they needed the money for but port representatives “got upset, and an attitude”. DB called it a big switch that all of a sudden the port wanted allocation from the steering committee.

  • Board Comments:

    • Vito Chiesa commented that the board “cannot let perfect be the enemy of good” and urged action.  

    • Tom Wheeler said measures like this are living documents and would hate to see all that hard work shelved indefinitely. Asked if they have the option to change things not approved by the public?

    • Samir offered two solutions:

      • Approve measure as is

      • Approve draft measures related to Port of Stockton today and keep the board updated during the implementation process to improve.

    • Craig Pederson commented that because the port is already part of the day to day emission efforts it works well to use this process. 

    • Deborah Lewis asked a procedural question wondering if the amendments should be brought up another day because they were not agendized.

    • Board counsel cited the Brown Act to say that it is an allowed procedure

    • Christina Fugazi: Reiterated need to continue to the implementation phase. 

  • Fugazi made a motion to approve the agenda item with the allocation of $5 million included for future port related measures to be determined by May. Deborah Lewis seconded. 

  • Motion passed unanimously

10. Update On AB 617 Program And Approve Additional Resources 

  • Presented by Samir Sheikh Air Pollution Control Officer

    • Approval of this agenda item would add (1) Director of Community Strategies and Resources, (1) Senior Air Quality Education Representative (Bilingual), (1) Senior Accountant, (1) Senior Air Quality Specialist, and (1) Programmer/Analyst to support the District’s implementation of AB 617 

    • Positions will be funded by state grant funding from the California Air Resources Board and by adopting a Budget Resolution to amend the 2020/21 District Budget to appropriate additional resources to support the AB 617 program.

  • Motion was made by Christina Fugazi and seconded by Deborah Lewis. The motion on this agenda item passed unanimously. 

11. Verbal Report On California Air Resources Board (Carb) Activities

  • Delivered by Tania Pacheco-Werner, PhD

    • Received commitments by CARB to reduce burning to meet the 2025. To a near phase out of agriculture burning.

12. Executive Director/Apco Comments

  • Bessinger saw former director Syed and joked that he looked great.

13. Governing Board Member Comments

  • No comments

Meeting adjourned at 12:24PM


  • According to the District’s Annual Air Toxics Report For 2020 Morgan Lambert Deputy Air Pollution Control Officer the AB 2588 – Air Toxics “Hot Spots” Reporting and Assessment Act resulted in a 90% reduction in “Cancer Risk from Ambient Air” in the San Joaquin Valley between 1990 and 2019.

  • Public Comment reflected a frustrating process to include the Port of Stockton into the communities draft of a Community Emissions Reduction Program (CERP) . A majority of the public comments were from steering committee members who said the reason the Port was not included was because there appeared to be a lack of transparency in the allocation of the $5 million and how the Port would use those funds. 

  • The board expressed general enthusiasm for the ending of ag burning. 

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