AQMD Designates Carson as “Environmental Justice” Community

  • 03/22/2019
  • Lyn Jensen

By Lyn Jensen, Carson Reporter

Carson, Wilmington and West Long Beach have been designated as a single “environmental justice” community by the South Coast Air Quality Management District Board as part of “Year 1 Implementation” of recent amendments to California’s health and safety code. The process that led to this designation, as well as community response — including upcoming public meetings — is on the district’s website.

This action results from two bills passed in 2017, AB134 and AB617. The first measure funded community air-quality projects, including clean-vehicle and ports investments. Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) authored AB617, an amendment to the state health and safety code, to reduce air pollution from commercial and industrial sources.

Garcia’s measure requires the California Air Resources Board to develop a uniform statewide system for annually reporting emissions of air pollutants and toxic air contaminants. It also requires the regional air district to deploy monitoring equipment by July 1, 2019 to measure and record air pollutant concentrations in disadvantaged communities.

Jo Kay Ghosh, a health-effects officer with the district, said although the title of AB 617 addresses “non-vehicular air pollution,” the district’s efforts will address “mobile and stationary sources,” including diesel emissions.

The California Air Resources Board directed the district to focus on three communities during “Year 1 Implementation.” The other two are San Bernardino and East Los Angeles. On Oct. 12 the district hosted a public meeting at the Wilmington Senior Center that provided information on the implementation of AB 617. The meeting discussed what was termed a “Community Steering Committee” process with the goal of providing input on the development of “Community Air Monitoring Plans” and “Community Emission Reduction Plans” through a series of monthly committee meetings.

The work of the committee is to provide input on the development of community air-monitoring plans and community emission reduction plans. Ghosh said the meetings are at an “early stage” but going through the outreach meetings allowed “us to look over technical data” and gather information from the designated communities.

There are approximately 30 people on the community steering committee, Ghosh added, representing a diverse membership including government agencies, school districts, labor, community organizations, chambers of commerce, and residents.

On the morning of Jan. 10, the AQMD held one of a series of community steering committee meetings, at Congresswoman Juanita Millender-McDonald Community Center in Carson, but will not hold another in Carson until August 7. The committee’s next meetings happen April 11 and May 9, at 2001 River Avenue, Long Beach. For a more extensive schedule of 2019 meetings see the AQMD website: www.aqmd.gov/nav/about/initiatives/environmental-justice/ab617-134

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Lyn Jensen

Lyn Jensen has been a freelance journalist in southern California since the 80s. Her byline has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Orange County Register, the Los Angeles Weekly, the Los Angeles Reader, Music Connection, Bloglandia, Senior Reporter, and many other periodicals. She blogs about music, manga, and more at lynjensen.blogspot.com and she graduated from UCLA with a major in Theater Arts. Follow her on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook.

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