Notetaking by Alejandra Obregon
Here’s what you need to know
- The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District board met on Oct. 20, 2022 and was presented with an award for the Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies Best Practice Award. The district’s residential wood burning reduction strategy was recognized for its efforts to fight climate change.
- The board’s motion to approve the $71.5 million in Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust for the second phase of the Statewide Incentive Program will transform schools to Zero-Emission Transits. The program’s goal is to target 50% of their funds to disadvantaged communities and offer schools new technological advancement of transit.
- The board accepted $118.8 million in state FARMER Program funding for the replacement of agricultural equipment in the San Joaquin Valley and authorize necessary resource enhancements. The program does offer incentives to smaller farms called the new “pilot program replacing Tier 0/Tier 1 equipment with Tier 3 or cleaner used equipment for small ag operations as well,” according to Todd DeYoung.
- The board adopted the proposed amendments to Rule 4460 (Petroleum Refinery Fence-line Air Monitoring) and Rule 3200 (Petroleum Refinery Community Air Monitoring Fees), and adopted Rule 4460 Petroleum Refinery Fence-Line Air Monitoring Plan Guidelines. This does not prevent the release of emission, nor stop emission from refineries plants. It will hold refineries accountable by monitoring their impact on neighboring communities.
- For the Pilot Small Farmers Incentive Program, based on Samir Shiekh reports he describes that the program is still doing research to find the most effective way to remove raisins. Would the work of ripping apart the fields of raisin be on the farmers? Or using the voucher to hire someone?
The Scene :
According to the Valley Air website, the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD) comprises 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.
The Valley Air District is governed by a fifteen-member Governing Board consisting of representatives from the Board of Supervisors of all eight counties, one Health and Science member, appointed by the Governor, one Physician, appointed by the Governor, and five Valley city representatives.
The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District Board meeting took place on 10/20/2022 at 9:03 am. The meeting was held in person but limited the number of public members to attend in person. The agenda states that public comments can still be submitted electronically or via Zoom. The meeting was made available via Youtube.
Names of governing board officials:
- Drew M. Bessinger, Councilmember from the City of Clovis
- Vito Chiesa, Vice-Chair and Supervisor in Stanislaus County
- Christina Fugazi, Vice Mayor from the City of Stockton
- Buddy Mendes, Supervisor in Fresno County
- Lloyd Pareira, Supervisor in Merced County
- Tom Wheeler, Supervisor in Madera County
- David Couch, Supervisor in Kern County
- Alexander C. Sherriffs, M.D, from the Adventist Health Community Care
- Craig Pedersen, Supervisor in Kings County
- Alvaro Preciado, Mayor in the City of Avenal
- Robert Rickman, Supervisor in San Joaquin County
- Amy Shuklian, Supervisor in Tulare County
- Deborah Lewis, Councilmember from the City of Los Banos
- Tania Pacheco-Werner, Ph.D., from the Central Valley Health Policy Institute
- Samir Sheikh, Executive Director and Air Pollution Control Officer
Public comment: (The public is allowed up to three minutes to say their comment)
- Janet Dietzkamei explains her concerns about the impacts of climate change and describes the drastic changes in the weather. She urges the board to make the changes to address climate change
- Connie Young (Volunteer from Citizen Climate Lobby also known as CCL) expresses a general appreciation of the Op-Ed article written by Vice Mayor Fugazi and Mayor Preciado that they coauthored for the Fresno Bee. She explains how they wrote new funding opportunities for the air district. She appreciates their honesty about the impacts of emissions and hopes to see innovation in the future.
6. Report on District Citizen Advisory Committee activities
- Manuel Cunha, President of CAC summarizes the CAC activities that took place:
- This includes the “large item of discussion as the ARB Clean Car II regulations are being proposed that all cars will be all electric by 2030.”
- ARB research properties of 2023-2024 were very informative.
- Assembly Bill 617 provided an update on the implementation of AB 617.
- In November, the CAC will showcase a presentation about what they do and how they help their community. Also discussing the EPA’s denial of their request.
- Shaniqua Dickson, Director of Personal explains the importance of giving employees the gratitude they deserve. She acknowledges the years of service and milestones each employee has achieved.
- Supervisor Vito Chiesa said “100 Years of services helping our district”
- Samir Sheikh announces the award for the Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies Best Practice Award
- Samir explains how our efforts to reduce emissions with the District’s Residential Wood Burning Reduction Strategy recognized our efforts to fight climate change.
- Supervisor Lloyd Pareira said “Wood burning is the toughest area to work with. We are on the right track. “
- Samir explains how our efforts to reduce emissions with the District’s Residential Wood Burning Reduction Strategy recognized our efforts to fight climate change.
- Todd DeYoung, Director of Grants and Incentives, seeking to accept $71,500,000 in Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust.
- DeYoung presents a slideshow to give the background of the program. He explains how Volkswagen admitted to the use of illegal defeat devices in their diesel vehicles. The creation of the VW Mitigation Trust is providing $423 million for California to mitigate excess nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions.
- In 2018 he said the “Board approved District to administer a $130,000,000 zero-emission bus program statewide in two phases of $65,000,000 each. Includes up to $13,000,000 (10%) to offset the District’s cost to administer the program on behalf of the state.”
- The statewide incentive program offers funds for new zero-emission replacement buses. The program is targeting disadvantaged communities by spending 50% of funds in these areas. It supports technology development for schools and DeYoung said the proposed “ $130,000,000 of Project is broken up into two allocations of $65,000,000. Administrative Funds of $13,000,000” . The timeframe is around 10 years.
- Phase one – DeYoung explains how they started taking applications in 2018. The district received 810 school applications. He said the project has funded 80 school businesses.
- Next Steps – working on the next phase of the program. Depending on board approval, the district would be open to accepting applications for the second 65,000,000 installment of VW mitigation trust funding as soon as approval started.
- Dr. Alexander Sherriffs suggests providing statistics for the presentation in regard to greenhouse reduction and the health benefits.
- Supervisor Buddy Mendes asked, “what does the electric bus actually cost?” DeYoung answers, “The price may vary depending on the economic status. It could range from $400,000 to $500,0000.”
- Mendes also asks, “How far does the distance go?” DeYoung answers, “Distance is going 100 + miles and the range is increasing. With current technology, we have greater battery capacity. It can be a challenge in certain cases.”
- Supervisor Craig Pedersen said, “ How are you weighing when a smaller jurisdiction wants the same access to the funds?” DeYoung explains how they do specific outreach because 50% of the funds must be spent in disadvantaged communities. They are starting another phase 2 by applying on equal footing for applications. They are doing outreach to the various schools to get that information to every school.
- Samir Sheikh added they are trying to get additional funding, and applying to receive other funding for the program.
- Supervisor Craig Pedersen asked, “Since it costs $400,000 per bus, does it come with a charging structure? Todd DeYoung said, “ It is an additional cost that schools must pay out of pocket for the charging infrastructure.”
- Supervisor Tom Wheeler asked if this is a Statewide program. His concern was that the program needed to be spread around the valley. Todd DeYoung answers, “Yes, it is a statewide program that is running in Fresno. 31 out of 142 of those school districts are in the San Joaquin Valley.”
- Manuel Cunha explains his concerns that the funding should go to any type of school no matter if it’s private or public. He is saying that private schools are not included in the funding for new electric buses. All schools should be included in the funding.
- Janet Dietzkamei is pleased to hear about the potential approval of the program. The buses are releasing tons of diesel fumes. We are finally addressing a major problem of the emissions affecting kids.
Motion to approve – unanimously
- Todd DeYoung seeks approval for $118,800,000 in state farming funds. He presents a slideshow of the background information of the Farmer program. Reducing emissions in the ag sphere is another way to meet our air quality standards. DeYoung said, “incentive-based strategies in partnership with USDA-NRCS, CDFA, and ag stakeholders – $1.7 billion in public/private investment towards replacing nearly 17,000 old, higher-polluting tractors and other equipment at Valley agricultural operations.”
- FARMER Program funding – DeYoung explains how in 2017: AB 134 and AB 109 offered funding to reduce emissions for the agriculture industry. This included funding for cleaner harvest equipment, trucks, pumps, etc.
- DeYoung explains how the district is supportive and working closely with CARB to develop the program’s guidelines. He said, “The district has allocated $432,129,600 in FARMER Program funding during the first four funding cycles.”
- Todd DeYoung explains how the year 5 FARMER program funding the District represents 80% of total statewide funding for this program.
- Recent Revisions to Incentive Levels approved by the board in March 2022. brought incentive levels back to the Board approved program funding target of 50% to 60% across all categories.
- In March 2022, we increased funding to 80% of eligible costs of equipment. 50% of applications are submitted by small operations. The program is always working to ensure agriculture stakeholders have that strong connection. “New pilot program replaces Tier 0/Tier 1 equipment with Tier 3 or cleaner used equipment for small ag operations as well” according to Todd.
- DeYoung also said, “Since April, the District’s queue of Tractor Replacement Program applications increased from 2,061 to 3,305 (funding demand increased from $128.4 million to $277.4 million.”
- DeYoung is also asking to approve the inclusion of additional positions to help the efficiency of the program.
- Councilmember Drew Bessinger asks if schools or universities that have agriculture programs will be able to apply? Todd DeYoung explains yes they are able to apply. He continues to say that they have worked with schools in the past.
- Supervisor Buddy Mendes asks instead of a new tracker, you find a tier four, would that work in that program? The small pilot program replaces Tier 1 equipment with Tier 3 or cleaner used equipment for smaller ag operations only. Any other ag operation does not apply.
- Craig Pederson explains the transitions to horsepower equipment such as tractors. The economy and the increase of tools would be challenging. If nothing changes it would be a challenge,
- Roger Isom, President, and CEO of the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations explains how it is a big challenge and the cost of buying equipment. He said, “We wouldn’t be buying new tractors if this program wasn’t for this. He hopes to encourage the board to approve this funding and the goal is to never stop this program. Agriculture started their lobbying effort because we don’t know if there’s gonna be funding next time.”
- Manuel Cunha said, “Five to ten tons of 2017 in March was the second mandate and a second partner with USCANRCS. NRCS works with 350 million for contributions and changes the guidelines to make this possible. If we help our farmers, we will help our agricultural industry and help reduce costs.”
Motion to approve unanimously
11. Adopt proposed amendments to Rule 4460 (Petroleum Refinery Fence-line Air Monitoring) and Rule 3200 (Petroleum Refinery Community Air Monitoring Fees), and adopt Rule 4460 Petroleum Refinery Fence-Line Air Monitoring Plan Guidelines
- John Glass, director of Air Quality Science, gives a presentation in regards to monitoring communities near petroleum refineries.
- He describes how there have been safety incidents in refineries in the bay area and the coast.
- In 2017, state legislature approved the AB 1647 bill, which he said is, “ AB 1647 requires that by January 1, 2020: Petroleum refineries develop, install, operate and maintain a fence-line air monitoring system at and near refineries in accordance to guidance developed by CARB and local air district. Air districts design, develop, install, operate and maintain a refinery-related community air monitoring system Real-time data be made accessible to the public.” The board did adopt Rule 4460 and Rule 3200 to implement all the necessary requirements for AB 167.
- Glass said, “ Rule 4460 requires refineries to implement publically accessible fence-line air monitoring systems. Specifies type of monitoring equipment and pollutants to be monitored based on facility processing capacity…. Rule 300 recovers District costs of developing and maintaining refinery-related community air monitoring systems. Also, exempts refineries not currently engaged in refining crude oil.”
- There have been court challenges regarding the district’s implementation of the AB 1647 requirements filed by a coalition of litigants. “Fresno County Superior Court ruling in September 2021 made certain aspects clear such as facilities not currently engaged in crude oil refining may not be exempted from the Refinery Statute’s fence-line monitoring requirements. Re-evaluation and additional supporting analysis with respect to monitoring provisions for petroleum refineries with refining capacity of less than 40,000 barrels per day (currently requires monitoring for six specific pollutants),” Glass said.
- Glass describes lists of facilities and names of refineries such as Alon/ Bakersfield Renewable Fuels and they are subjected to fence-line monitoring in place of their pollutants.
- State Guidance for AB 1647 provides lists of recommendations to cover air conditioning and list of top pollutants to monitor. Sulfur dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, and hydrocarbons are usually the most common chemicals found in refinery incidents.
- John Glass reports the proposed amendments, “They must remove exemption for facilities not currently engaged in crude oil refining (including clarifying definition). Remove capacity-based air monitoring requirements and establish uniform air monitoring requirements based on potential pollutants of concern identified in state guidance and District-established air monitoring guidance. Proposed amendments include Rule 4460 fence-line air monitoring guidelines and associated submission requirements and timelines • Under proposed amendments, 2 additional Valley facilities would be subject to refinery air monitoring requirements.”
- Glass describes how they host extensive public processes to solicit feedback. The final draft documents did not receive any public comments on August 16, 2022
- John Glass hopes that the board adopts the proposed amendments of Rule 4460 and Rule 3200. As well as authorize the Chair to sign the attached Resolutions
- Craig Pedersen says as we go through the new adjustments, what are the new requirements cost? John Glass said, “It honestly depends on what we want to specify…. It could range $100,0000 or more depending on the complexity of the pollutants being monitored.”
- Craig Pedersen asks what are the definitions of what is considered an active and inactive refineries ? What are we monitoring for? John answers that we are proposing to engage any refineries now or permits to do so are subjected to the rule.
- LLoyd Pareira – Are the other refineries around the state subjected to the same rules? John says yes, this is a statewide legislative bill. They have the same requirements such as in Santa Barbara and the Bay Area
- Cynthia Pinto Cabrera, Policy Assistant at Central Valley Air Quality Coalition is speaking on behalf of Jasmine Martinez who is also part of Central Valley Air Quality Coalition. She explains that the coalition believes they should improve public notifications of their reports/ findings. They are also disappointed that it took five years for the proposed amendments to be changed. The increased health effects to those who live in refineries which are typically people of color.
- Staff report found that the rules do not reduce emissions of refineries nor stop the emissions.
- Caberna advocated that the board should consider additional warnings and take action to protect their help.
- Janet Dietzkamei said pleased to know that we are finally taking action to encourage communities to monitor refineries.
Board to action – Motion to approved unanimously
- Samir explains that it is an annual process to select the governing board chair and vice chair. A board chair serves for two conservative years. It would require a subcommittee to appoint a new board chair and vice chair. It consists of two member of each region and three county of supervisors and two city and one member appointed by the governor
- He said you can refer to the meeting notes for exact detail of the chair selections and their duties.
- Supervisor Vito is taking action to find all the members for the committee.
- South – Supervisor Amy Shuklian, Supervisor in Tulare County
- Governor appointed – Alexander C. Sherriffs, M.D, from the Adventist Health Community Care
- Central – Councilmember Drew M. Bessinger
- Supervisor Lloyd Pareira
- City Reps – Councilmember Drew M. Bessinger
- Supervisor Mendes
- Supervisor Lewis
- Motion not required
- Samir Shiekh is sharing what they are recommending for the incentive program. He gives a brief presentation in regards to the cultural practices of raisin burning. California is the only region that is implementing a stragtying to phase out the practice of raisin burning and end the burning of 2024.
- Smaller farmers are concerned about ending the practice. They are an activity working if it can be recycled or sent to the waste compartment.
- Samir said they have created an incentive program for small farmers with less than 50 acres to have a voucher to stop the burning of the fields and use alternative ways to offset the cost.
- The few requirements include it could not exceed $25 per acres and it is first come first serve basis. They will do their due diligence by doing outreach to inform smaller farmers of the program. The total funding is $40,000.
- Supervisor Buddy Mendes asks what’s the maximum cost per acre? Samir explains that the program offers up to $25 per acre. The cost could be lower and higher depending on the field. We may also work with smaller farms if the cost is more than $25 through case by case scenario.
- Manuel Cunha explains how any help we can do will save farmers. There have been issues with examining the alternatives methods to help farmers. The burning program is testing out alternatives. They will most likely send trucks to pick up trays. They are looking at methods for small farmers.
- Janet Dietzkamei says she is happy to hear the effort to remove the black smoke is admirable and helps those with respirable issues.
- Supervisor wheelzer asks does the program offer a pick up incentive? Sheikh said we are looking for the exact data and the $25 per acre was supposed to cover the costs of picking up the raisins.
Motion to approve – unanimously
- Samir Sheikh says reports are included in the packets. He is happy that the CARB Board unanimously approved the Arvin/Lamont Community Emissions Reduction Program (Arvin/Lamont CERP) developed to meet the requirements of AB 617.
- The governing study session is on November 10 at Wonder Valley.
15. Executive Director/Apoco Comments
16. Governing Board Member Comments
- Mayor Preciado said , “ Thank you to the general public and community members for being active in our meeting. It is hard to give funding to disadvantaged communities. Finding the funding to help native people and especially those with health problems.”
Item 17. CLOSED SESSION : Pursuant to Board will hold a Closed Session to confer with, or receive advice from, legal counsel regarding the following pending cases:
- 1.) Comite Progreso de Lamont, et. al. v. SJVUAPCD , Fresno Co. Sup. Ct.No. 20CECG01008.
- 2) Central California Environmental Justice Network, et. al. v. Liane al., Case Randolph, et. U.S. Dist. Ct. (E.D. Cal.), Case No. 2:22at00994.
The meeting adjourned at 11 A.M. The next meeting is scheduled for November 9-10, 2022 (Study Session)
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