The California Air Resources Board (CARB) conducted a series of workshops and outreach in June 2018 to inform the public about developments related to Assembly Bill (AB) 617, which was signed into law in July 2017 with the intent of reducing air pollution impacting disadvantaged communities and improving health conditions. To implement AB 617, CARB has established the Community Air Protection Program and released two initial documents highlighting the program's requirements: the "Community Air Protection Program Concept Paper" and the "Draft Process and Criteria for 2018 Community Selections." In June, CARB released a more comprehensive document titled the "Community Air Protection Program Draft Blueprint." The Draft Blueprint discusses the various elements of the program, such as identification of impacted communities, statewide strategies to reduce emissions, community emissions reductions programs, and community air monitoring plans.
AB 617 sets a deadline of October 1, 2018, for CARB, in consultation with community members and local air districts and other entities, to design a statewide monitoring plan that addresses community air monitoring needs. By the same date, the bill also requires CARB to develop a statewide strategy to reduce local emissions of toxics and criteria pollutants in severely affected communities. CARB will determine whether a community is recommended for community air monitoring, a community emission reduction program, or both, based on best available modeling information, existing air quality monitoring information, existing health data, air monitoring results pursuant to California Health and Safety Code 42705.5, and the needs of individual communities. CARB plans to identify the initial set of priority communities facing over-exposure of pollutants by October 2018. Once the communities are designated, CARB will develop a community action plan by October 2019 and then begin implementation.
CARB will work with the local air districts to ensure active and effective community participation, which is a key component of AB 617 implementation. The air districts will be responsible for tracking participants, and CARB will assist the districts and provide support through an online resource center. As required by the bill, CARB will also develop an online statewide Technology Clearinghouse of emissions performance levels (specifically, Best Available Control Technology [BACT], Best Available Retrofit Control Technology [BARCT], and BACT for toxics [T-BACT]) for stationary sources.
CARB and local air districts will continue to conduct community meetings and workshops through summer 2018 to finalize the draft Blueprint. For more information regarding the AB 617 program, please contact our Irvine office at (949) 567-9880 or visit CARB's website.