The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (“SJVAPCD”) has tentatively identified sections of Fresno and Bakersfield for Community Monitoring under AB 617. The Staff Report that was presented at at the June 21, 2018 meeting is available online. These areas, once monitoring results are reviewed, may be subject to enhanced emission controls, monitoring, enforcement and land use controls that would be designed to reduce emissions in the area.

AB 617 was approved by the legislature in conjunction with AB 398 which amended the Cap & Trade law. It is a far reaching bill that is intended to identify populations/communities in California that are being cumulatively impacted by local air quality. In particular it calls for the development of a plan for monitoring communities that are cumulatively impacted, and a plan for mitigating emissions. The CARB Draft Community Air Protection Blueprint that outlines the Program including proposed actions and community selection criteria is currently out for review with comments due by July 23, 2018.

As part of AB 617 the local air districts are to identify preliminary and final lists of recommended communities to CARB. The initial list of communities was identified in April, and a more refined list will be provided in July. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) will publish lists in August and finalize them in September.

The SJVAPCD in the preliminary round of identifying communities provided a laundry list of disadvantaged communities that are effected by the large transportation corridors located in the Valley. In this next round the District has specifically identified South Central Fresno, and North Central Bakersfield.

AB 617 requires CARB to develop a monitoring plan for the state, and then select, based on the plan, the highest priority locations to deploy community air monitoring systems. Once the communities and relevant emissions are identified, various options for control measures are to be proposed.

By July 1, 2019, air districts would be required to deploy monitoring systems in the selected locations, with data to be published on the CARB website. Air districts would also be authorized to require any stationary sources that emit air pollution that materially affect the selected location, to deploy a fence-line monitoring system. Once the communities are identified an advisory committee working with the local district can identify control measures, enhanced enforcement, land use controls and other methods to reduce emissions affecting the community.

Additional locations would be selected to deploy community air monitoring systems on an ongoing basis by January 1, 2020, and every year thereafter as appropriate based on the monitoring plan.