March 16, 2023 — San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District Board
Documented by Kendra Staub
Here’s what you need to know
- At their March 16 meeting, the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District Board approved $13.1 million in state cap and trade funding for the board-approved south-central fresno zero-emission delivery truck demonstration project, which will deploy 50 zero-emission battery electric Class 8 Tesla Semi trucks, install supporting fast-charging infrastructure and a battery energy storage solution (BESS) at the Pepsi Beverages Company located within the AB 617 community of South-Central Fresno.
- The district’s annual Toxic Air Report for 2022 has been filed and is available for the public to view online.
- The district is currently in the process of implementing a number of clean air strategies included in the 2018 PM2.5 Plan, though the EPA’s delay in updated contingency guidance poses significant delay in submitting contingency measures
1. Meeting called to order at 9:04 AM
2. Roll Call
3. Pledge of Allegiance
4. Approval of Consent Calendar – Item Numbers (14-17)
These items are routine in nature and are usually approved by a single vote. Prior to
action by the Board, the public will be given the opportunity to comment on any consent
5. Public Comment – This time is made available for comments from the public on
matters within the board’s jurisdiction that are not on the agenda. It is requested that no
comments be made during this period on items on the agenda. The public may make
comments on each board agenda item during the time allowed for public comment on
that item. Attention is called to the fact that the board is prohibited by law from taking
action on matters discussed that are not on the agenda.
- Nancy R. – Glad that EPA is taking another look at the proposed Southeast Fresno freeway change environmental impacts. There are three schools nearby and we should use this time to properly prepare and protect the environment and health of our community.
- Connie Y. – Youth led climate panel/activities will take place on Saturday, March 18 during the annual community Earth Day event will be held at Fresno City College, another Earth Day event will be held at Fresno State. A big thank you to the Air District for their donation.
- Janet D. – Climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our time. Models show irreversible consequences at our current rate of warming. The cost of these damages is in the billions of dollars.
- Veronica A. – Avenal resident who said she previously attended a meeting and brought to the board’s attention the complaint process and how their complaint has not been addressed or verified. We are in a rural area and we are having fires and other issues. The community here could benefit from AB617. We need and rely on this board to give out violations, we need your help, we’re being ignored.
- Manuel – good turn out in attendance so far. Thank you for the work that’s been done with the ag burn, it’s helped out those with less than 100 acres.
- “In February 2023, the governing board also approved enhancements aimed at increasing accessibility to the district’s programs by small farmers, including an increased grant amount of up to $400 per acre of additional funding for growers farming 100 acres or less in the Valley.”
- The proposals, summarized below, were in response to the highly competitive CEC/CARB co-funded Zero-Emission Drayage Truck and Infrastructure Pilot Project solicitation:
- Deploy 50 zero-emission battery electric Class 8 Tesla Semi trucks, install supporting fast-charging infrastructure and a battery energy storage solution (BESS) at the Pepsi Beverages Company located within the AB 617 community of South-Central Fresno.
- Deploy 50 zero-emission, battery electric Class 8 Volvo electric trucks and install supporting fast-charging infrastructure at a large distribution center operated by Albertsons in Tracy, California.
- The CEC/CARB co-funded Zero-Emission Drayage Truck and Infrastructure Pilot Project program is funded with a combination of CARB Low Carbon Transportation (Cap and Trade) Funding and CEC Clean Transportation Program funds.
- The proposed fleet of zero-emission trucks will travel approximately 1,000,000 zero-emission miles annually, delivering goods for Pepsi.
- South-Central Fresno is designated as an AB 617 Community as it has been disproportionately burdened with pollution and this project directly aligns with the communities’ priorities outlined in the District Board adopted and CARB approved South Central Fresno Community Emission Reduction Program (CERP).
- Expected to have these trucks on the road by June/July 2023 if supported
- Councilmember Drew Bessinger: New legislation says by 2029 all new fleets of trucks/vehicles need to be full electric. I think this could be an opportunity to showcase demonstrations to other school districts and make children aware of career opportunities in green technologies.
- Mayor Alvaro Preciado: I was able to attend a demonstration and event recently. Bakersfield college is already offering classes focusing on electric trucks and infrastructure. Collaboration goes a long way so it would be great to reach out to those other colleges that already offer this.
- Alexander Sheriffs: I’m confident that Pepsi has thought this through so they’re not leaving drivers stranded. It takes planning to get this set up properly.
- Public comments:
- Manuel: In support of this truck project. We’re building two packinghouse facilities in Sanger, a rural community. PG&E told Sanger and Centerville that they will not be able to provide electricity to these new facilities because they are already overloaded on the grid. Told them it would be at least 10 years. I think CARB is going to back off of more of these electric trucking projects due to a lack of electricity access.
- Kevin A: In support of these projects, doing what he can to get down to zero emissions. The struggle in rural areas is getting power. We are running into obstacles with the utility companies and it’s hindering the projects that could improve public health.
- Based on the latest California Toxics Inventory, only 14% of all air toxics in the San Joaquin Valley are now emitted from stationary sources of pollution under the direct control and regulation of the District, while 52% comes from mobile sources such as cars and trucks, and the remaining 34% is emitted from area-wide sources like road dust, paints, solvents, and other consumer products.
- The District’s implementation of AB 2588, California’s Air Toxics “Hot Spots” Information and Assessment Act, in conjunction with local, state, and federal air toxics reduction measures, has resulted in dramatic reductions in emissions of air toxics from existing sources in the San Joaquin Valley.
- We have seen a 75% decrease in diesel PM emissions
- Under its integrated air toxics program, the district has also implemented numerous methods of reducing emissions from mobile sources and other sources of emissions that the district does not have the authority to regulate.
- Connie Young: An article said that Fresno Unified recently bought five new pieces of diesel equipment. How is that allowed to happen?
- This report is great and this is a monumental report and work being done. We have come a long way. Thank you
- Janet D: There is a large business park near our home, there are many trucks idling and traveling in this area. These homes were built before these businesses began and more homes are being built in the area. Also concerned about the diesel fumes kids may be exposed to by school buses.
- Board Accepts the Report
- The district is currently in the process of implementing a number of clean air strategies included in the 2018 PM2.5 Plan adopted by your Board in 2018, and the recently adopted 2022 Ozone Plan to address the 2015 federal 8-hour ozone standard of 70 ppb.
- Proposed Research Priorities:
- SGMA Implementation and Dust Control Measures for Fallowed Land
- Updated PM2.5 Source Apportionment
- Valley Public Health Improvements from Reductions in Criteria and Toxic Air
- Assessment of Local Community-Level Emission Inventories, Air Quality, and Continued Strategy Development
- Continued Development of New Technologies to Provide Alternatives to Open Burning of Agricultural Material
- Freight and Transportation Emissions Impact on Valley Air Quality
- Nexus Between Air Quality and Climate Change
- Increasing Impacts of Wildfires on Valley Air Quality
- These are very small particles,typically smaller than a strand of hair or grain of sand, and can easily get into lungs and bloodstream
- EPA, CARB, and the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District are the 3 main entities working on this issue
- $4.5 billion in public/private funding towards clean air projects to date that have achieved over 222,000 tons of emissions reductions
- We have seen a great reduction in PM2.5 in the valley over the last 10+ years
- EPAs delay on updated contingency guidance poses significant delay in submitting contingency measures
- Public Contingency Workshop scheduled on March 22
- Currently working with CARB on updated Plan for 2012 standard, by the original due date of Dec 31, 2023
- Supervisor Rickman: If you’re going to reduce the acreage will there be an exemption for wildfire impacted areas?
- We certainly try to communicate the realities on the ground to implement these things. Looking into the best way to realistically approach
- Manuel: Disappointed that the board is expected to have a plan ready by June, but the EPA can’t have contingencies ready yet.
- Carolyn (dermatologist): Doctors in the community and many other residents are choosing to leave (especially if they have children), due to air quality issues and health concerns in the Valley. We already have a shortage of healthcare workers here. The work you do is very important and affects so many people.
- Janet D: Had hoped that PM2.5 would be better controlled. Had no asthma when I moved here in 2003, it took about three years living here to develop it. We need to ban residential wood burning. There are some that rely on fireplace warmth, but the majority of Valley residents have other ways to stay warm.
- Veronica A: In rural areas like Avenal we depend on people in these leadership positions to make good decisions that protect our community. For those that want to defend the landfill: I urge you to come live by it. The smell, hazards, and health conditions it causes in our community are dangerous.
- Rob: It’s unfortunate how the EPA has handled this. One of the biggest issues is that farmer funding has been dropped from the budget.
Feb. 23 meeting
- Public Meeting to Consider Fifth Annual Community Recommendations and Update the Board on the Annual Assembly Bill 617 Implementation Memorandum
- Amendments to the Advanced Clean Fleets Regulation
- Amendments to Hexavalent Chromium for Chrome Plating and Chromic Acid Anodizing Operations (ATCM)
- Development of an In-Use Locomotive Regulation
12. Executive director/apco comments
- Councilmember Amy Shuklian: We have some of the top producing ag counties in the country, we need to look into how we can still include farmer funding in our budget
13. Governing board member comments
- A Portrait of the Valley study was released recently. It gives data on health and quality of life factors here so it can help us see where the gaps are.
- This weather is a marathon, not a sprint. We are at record levels. We have another storm on its way.
Consent Calendar: Items 14-17
Meeting adjourned at 11:41 a.m.
The next scheduled meeting of the Valley Air Board is April 20 at 9 a.m. at the Central Region Office, Governing Board Room, 1990 E. Gettysburg Avenue, Fresno. The meeting will be held via video teleconference (VTC) with the Northern Region Office (Modesto) and the Southern Region Office (Bakersfield) participating via VTC.
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