CLIMATE CHANGE ROUNDUP: Air Board Maps Environmental Justice Zones

By Published On: June 11, 2010

Areas where a carbon cap-and-trade program could have an environmental justice impact were the focus of a California Air Resources Board advisory committee meeting June 9. Under the state’s climate change law, AB 32, the Air Board is to “consider the potential for direct, indirect, and cumulative emissions impacts” from any market-based strategies, “including localized impacts in communities that are already adversely impacted by air pollution.” The maps charted wide swaths of territory in greater Los Angeles, San Joaquin Valley, the San Francisco Bay area, and the Southern California desert based on poor air quality and low income. The Air Board is tasked with making sure that allowing companies to offset emissions under AB 32 by purchasing emissions allowances does not result in more unhealthful pollutants, like particulate or toxic chemicals, in these areas. The Air Board discussed the maps with its Environmental Justice Advisory Committee. * * * * * Two Southern California organizations won almost $2 million in federal grants June 4 to set up weatherization career training programs. The U.S. Department of Energy announced grants for 34 separate organizations in 27 states. They are to receive a total of $29 million under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to establish weatherization training centers across the country Los Angeles Trade-Technical College got $752,976 for setting up a training program and Century Center for Economic Opportunity in Gardena got $1 million. The training is aimed at building a new green work force that can make the economy more energy efficient and improve the environment, DOE said, for instance, by cutting greenhouse gases. * * * * * T. Boone Pickens visited Los Angeles June 2 to meet with state environmental officials and legislators to discuss how to cut oil dependence and clean up air pollution prior to receiving an award from the Coalition for Clean Air. The group awarded him for his work to provide natural gas as a transportation fuel that cuts diesel soot. Pickens’ company Clean Energy Fuels supplies compressed natural gas and liquefied natural gas at vehicle filling stations. The oil tycoon--who is pushing a national energy plan that would eliminate dependence on foreign oil, particularly from the Middle East--lauded the state for having an energy plan, saying that even a fool with a plan is ahead of a genius without one. Pickens’ plan would end U.S. dependence on imported oil by fully developing domestic natural gas as a transportation fuel and greater use of wind power. He has been on the stump pushing the plan since 2008. He predicts that Congress will pass energy independence legislation this year.

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