Almost every Californian has breathed air that violates state particulate matter standards. The Bay area's nine counties exceed state air quality standards at least two dozen times every year. Ozone levels greatly surpass what is allowed under the Clean Air Act, increasing childhood asthma, lung problems, infant mortality and premature death.
MONITORING THE BAY AREA MANAGEMENT DISTRICT
The failure of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District's (BAAQMD) to enforce the Clean Air Act is in a large part responsible for the continued existence of poor air quality in the San Francisco Bay Area. With little media coverage of this obscure and powerful regulatory body, the public doesn't realize the severity of the situation. In January 2001, the state's non-partisan Legislative Analyst's Office concluded that the Air Quality Management District Boards and the California Air Resources Board are not enforcing the law with nearly enough vigor. OCE represented by ELJC, advocates for the public at every relevant Bay Air Quality Management District Hearing Board (BAAQMD) meeting.
A Current area of emphasis is the California Title V air pollution permitting process. OCE is reviewing and providing comments on the proposed Title V air pollution permits of several refineries and other facilities in northern California. Refinery permits include: Valero Refining Company, Shell Martinez Refining Company, Tesoro Refining & Marketing Company, Chevron Products Company, Phillips 66 Company, Kern Oil & Refining, Equilon, Bakersfield Refinery, Tricor Refinery, and Aera Energy Refinery. Other facilities included McKittrick Ltd., Chalk Cliff, Chemical Waste, Castle Peak, Equilon Bakersfield Terminal, Delano Cogeneration, and NUMMI, the only automobile manufacturing facility in California.
MUNI ALTERNATIVE FUELS PROJECT OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE
Two percent of California vehicles are diesel-powered, yet they emit 31 percent of the smog-forming nitrous oxide produced the on-road vehicles. Smog has been shown to cause and intensify asthma, which is the leading cause of childhood hospitalizations in the state. Childhood asthma rates have reached epidemic proportions in San Francisco, particularly in Bayview/Hunters Point, where 45 percent of respondents in a recent survey reported having asthma.
OCE was named to the oversight committee that watchdogs San Francisco Muni's implementation of the city's new alternative fuel buses. Our representative sat on the board to ensure that new, cleaner burning fuel buses are put on the road in a timely way.
OCE was the only nonprofit organization with a role on the committee. The rest of the committee was comprised of members of SF's Department of the Environment, PG&E, and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. OCE received a generous $10,000 grant from the Steven & Michele Kirsch Foundation to continue our efforts.
We also organized the Dump Diesel Coalition, a community effort to remove diesel buses from the streets of San Francisco. On July 15th, 2002, Supervisor Aaron Peskin introduced a "No More Diesel Bus" resolution that was co-sponsored by five other Supervisors. The introduction of this Resolution, which faced substantial behind-the-scenes opposition, is a big victory for the OCE-led Dump Diesel Coalition. It represents the first step towards holding Muni accountable to the voters of San Francisco, who are fed up having carcinogenic soot pollute their homes and endanger their health.
The Dump Diesel Coalition membership now includes: American Lung Association, BayView Hunters Point Community Advocates, GreenAction, Our Children's Earth Foundation, National Resource Defense Council, Sierra Club, and Union of Concerned Scientists.
ADMINISTRATIVE ADVOCACY EFFORTS
OCE is dedicated to protecting the public from lax laws or enforcement agencies. Therefore, OCE puts a tremendous effort into speaking up when permits, rules and laws are being drafted. According to the law, before any kind of permit or rule can be issued, the public has the right to comment on it. OCE has combined its legal expertise and concern for the citizenry to comment on such issues. Two of our current administrative advocacy efforts are highlighted below:
Clean Air Act's New Source Review Standards
Apparently, U.S. EPA may announce changes to the NSR program that may gut the protections of the Clean Air Act. In California alone, there are thousands of sources that may potentially be affected by the proposed changes. Our concern is elevated by the recent energy situation, the unprecedented number of power plants under construction, the number of older energy facilities that continue to run, and the fact that these facilities are disproportionately sited in communities of color.
According to a recent study by the Latino Issues Forum entitled, POWER Against the PEOPLE: Moving Beyond Crisis Planning in California Energy, two-thirds of the plants had 50% or more people of color within a 6-mile radius of the plant. OCE is thus leading a campaign to urge the California Attorney General to pose some important questions to U.S. EPA about the changes to NSR and to join with the Attorneys General of several states to threaten suit against illegal changes to NSR.
California Ambient Air Standards
Questions? - Email: email@example.com - © Copyright 2012 OCE