Assemblymember Gloria Takes Lead to Improve Air Quality for San Diego

Friday, February 8, 2019

Gloria Aims to Reform San Diego Air Pollution Control District, Encourage Aggressive Regional Action on Climate Change

SAN DIEGO, CA – California State Assemblymember Todd Gloria (D-San Diego) is looking to ensure all San Diegans breathe cleaner air by introducing sweeping reform to the San Diego County Air Pollution Control District Board – the county agency charged with monitoring and regulating regional air quality. Joined today by local environmental leaders and elected officials, Assemblymember Gloria announced AB 423 – legislation that restructures the Air Pollution Control District Board to include more diverse representation and better ensure the County of San Diego prioritizes climate action in every community.

All communities deserve to breathe clean air, but we know not all communities do. With air pollution as a component of climate change and the effects of climate change occurring all around, it’s clear business as usual isn’t getting the job done,” said Assemblymember Todd Gloria. “By transforming San Diego’s Air Pollution Control District into a more diverse and representative body, I believe we have the real potential to get the County to take aggressive action on climate change and ensure that whatever strategies are implemented, they are equitably distributed throughout the region.”

If passed and signed into law, AB 423 would take the San Diego Air Pollution Control District Board from its current composition of just the County Board of Supervisors to a diverse membership of 11 individuals comprised of representatives from each city in the region and members of the public. The table below outlines the proposed representation under AB 423.

 

 

Entity

Number of Representatives

Term

San Diego County Board of Supervisors

2

4 years

City of San Diego

3

4 years

City of Chula Vista OR

City of Oceanside

1

4 years; rotating terms

City of Escondido, Carlsbad, El Cajon, OR Vista

1

4 years; rotating terms in the order listed

City of San Marcos, Encinitas, National City, La Mesa, Santee, Poway, Imperial Beach, Lemon Grove, Coronado, Solana Beach, OR Del Mar

1

4 years; rotate terms in the order listed

Public Members: one public health professional, one air pollution specialist, and one environmental justice member.

3

4 years

 

**Cities are grouped based on population.

The San Diego Air Pollution Control District represents all of San Diego County -- over three  million people in 18 cities. Unlike other districts that oversee a single county, the San Diego Air Pollution Control District Board specifically excludes local cities from serving (AB 75, Chapter 961, Statues of 1993).

San Diego has a serious air pollution problem. We need new leadership through a proactive board that will adopt strict rules to reduce emissions and improve public health, especially in the communities most impacted,” said Environmental Health Coalition Executive Director, Diane Takvorian. “Air monitors in Chula Vista and El Cajon both indicated a human cancer risk of over 300 per million, which is unacceptably high. This does not even include diesel particulate matter, the number one cancer causing pollutant in outdoor air.”

Air Pollution Control Boards are responsible for controlling emissions, ensuring pollution sources are compliant with regulations, permitting facilities, and researching new technologies that will bring their districts closer to attaining federal, state, and local air quality goals.

According to the American Lung Association’s State of the Air 2018 scorecard, San Diego County was ranked as the sixth highest region in the nation for high ozone – the main ingredient in smog. In addition, critics of the District cite numerous issues where the District could be more proactive to clean up the air and protect public health. These include:

·         Achieving greater reductions in toxic pollution.

·         Monitoring for toxic air contaminants at all APCD monitoring stations with priority for monitors in the most impacted communities like National City, Barrio Logan, Logan Heights, and Sherman Heights.

·         Providing current data on the biggest polluters. The most current pollution emission information available on the APCD website is from 2014.

·         Requiring risk reduction plans for all large polluters. Currently, the APCD has 42 cap-and-trade greenhouse gas emission sources, local port activity, and highly industrialized areas with light and heavy duty facilities.

·         More robust community outreach beyond simply notices posted on the County website. This includes notices in multiple languages. 

AB 423 will be heard by an Assembly committee in April. The full text of the bill can be found here.