The Cleaner Air News
The newsletter of the Cleaner Air Partnership
Save the Date: Upcoming Events
Cleaner Air Partnership takes priorities to Washington D.C.
Air Quality Team Advocates for Forest Health
Transportation Funding Benefits Air Quality
Upcoming Events

Clean Air Awards Luncheon
 May 11, 
 11:30 AM - 1:30 PM

California Adaptation Forum

September 7-8, 2016
Long Beach, CA

Save the Date!

Breathe Bike Trek

September 16-18, 2016
Napa County Fairgrounds


*The news links above  do not necessarily reflect the views of the Cleaner Air Partnership or its members.  They are intended for information purposes.

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STAY INFORMED April 20, 2016
Cleaner Air Partnership takes priorities to Washington D.C.

Air Quality Team* meets with Congresswoman Matsui 
A delegation of nearly 350 leaders from California's Capital Region descended on Washington D.C. April 9 -13 to advocate for the region's priority issues. Eleven policy teams drafted papers outlining policy positions and solutions for issue areas ranging from air quality to workforce & education as part of the Metro Chamber's 46th Annual Capitol-to-Capitol advocacy program. The largest program of its type in the nation, Cap-to-Cap delegates work to advance the region's priorities as they meet with congressional offices, federal agencies and other influential organizations headquartered in Washington D.C. 
Priorities of the Cleaner Air Partnership were represented as part of the Air Quality team. Carrying three issue papers to Washington D.C., the Air Quality team held more than 20 meetings over the course of three days, advocating for policy priorities focused on improving the quality of the air we breathe. The Air Quality team's priority issues included pushing for continued funding of state and local grants to support the important air monitoring and management responsibilities of local air districts as required under the federal Clean Air Act; funding for incentives that facilitate the voluntary transition to cleaner technologies (as opposed to requiring additional regulation on industry); and investing in the health of forests to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire.

"If there's anything folks in Washington will take's the message that you have been able to put aside differences and to reach agreement on very important clean air policies."
 - Bill Becker, executive director,
National Association of Clean Air Agencies
The Air Quality team sought input from the National Association of Clean Air Agencies (NACAA) on how to best advance our region's air quality priorities in Washington D.C. given the current environment (i.e., an election year and a divided Congress). "The continuation of the status quo will no longer suffice," said Bill Becker, Executive Director of NACAA.  "The deadlock in Washington is not sustainable. Whoever is in the next Administration will have an interest in governing moderately and bringing people together."
The  work of the Cleaner Air Partnership is viewed as an example of the type of collaboration and cooperation needed to move issues forward. "The message that you bring in to Washington is not just unique, but incredibly important," Becker continued. "At a time when people aren't working or even meeting together, the fact that your government agencies are working closely with business and community groups and have traveled across the country demonstrates for Washington that collaboration is possible. If there's anything folks in Washington will take away from the trip, it's the message that you have been able to put aside differences and to reach agreement on very important clean air policies."

* Air quality team representatives Larry Luong, SMUD; Tammy Cronin, Valley Vision; Becky Wood, A. Teichert & Son; Steve Ly, Vice Mayor and Council Member, City of Elk Grove with staffers Tyson Scorci and John Thor meet with Congresswoman Doris Matsui (center) in Washington D.C., Cap-to-Cap 2016
Air Quality Team advocates for forest health

An addition to the Air Quality team's policy agenda for Cap-to-Cap in 2016 Placer County fire is the issue of forest health. While at first glance, it may not be immediately evident that forest health is an air quality concern, the health of our forests has far-reaching implications. The air quality impacts come in to play when wildfire ignites and spews massive amounts of soot into the air. But the health of our forests also impacts water quality and supply; flood control capabilities; tourism and recreation; economic value; and ultimately the health and well-being of rural and urban communities across our region.
California's forests are facing a crisis. Five years of drought and warmer temperatures have weakened trees, leaving our forests vulnerable to an increased risk of insect outbreak and substantially increased risk of high-severity wildfire. The environmental impacts are evident but the economic impacts need to be considered as well. "Not only does the smoke cause air pollution,"  said John Clerici, City Council Member for the City of Placerville, "commerce is interrupted by the smoke and in the aftermath of wildfire." 

"Not only does the smoke cause air pollution...commerce is interrupted by the smoke and in the aftermath of wildfire."
-John Clerici, Council Member, City of Placerville

  A key win for the Air Quality team at Cap-to-Cap was learning that there is bipartisan interest in solving the problem of forest health. In meeting with congressional offices on both sides of the aisle, it's recognized that funding prevention is a better and more cost-effective solution than the reactionary approach of fighting wildfire and responding to its repercussions.
Although this year's Cap-to-Cap program has drawn to a close, the advocacy work will continue; the concern for forest health is an ongoing focus for the Cleaner Air Partnership (CAP). We look forward to continuing the conversation about what can be done to improve the health of our forests and engaging with federal, state and local partners on policy solutions for a healthy forest ecosystem that supports the health and well being of our communities across the region and throughout the state.
Transportation funding benefits air quality

Dave Tremblador rides bikeshare
David Temblador takes the ultimate form of clean transportation.
Funding for transportation and air quality goes hand-in-hand as it relates to a federal funding source known as the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) program. CMAQ funding is used for transportation projects that both reduce traffic congestion and benefit air quality. The Fixing Americas Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, passed by Congress in December 2015, provides 5-years of funding for CMAQ as well as other critical federal transportation funding. CMAQ funds are designated for regions that do not meet federal air quality standards set to protect public health.
CMAQ funding is very important to California's Capital Region as an area that does not meet federal air quality standards for smog. Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), a type of gas that contributes to the formation of smog, is emitted by cars, trucks and various non-road vehicles (e.g., construction equipment, boats, etc.). NOx is also emitted by industrial sources such as power plants, boilers, cement kilns, and turbines. In the Capital Region, nearly 80 percent of the NOx emissions come from mobile sources including diesel engines. Diesel exhaust has been linked to lung cancer, heart disease, and the exacerbation of asthma and other respiratory diseases. This makes reducing emissions from mobile sources an important strategy for meeting clean air objectives and protecting public health. Among other uses that reduce congestion and improve air quality, CMAQ funding can be used for retrofitting diesel engines with cleaner technologies; transit improvements; and bicycle and pedestrian facilities.

" ...there's a collaborative nature to addressing air quality concerns, unique in the Sacramento region."
- John Lane, project manager, Teichert Materials and
Chair of the Cleaner Air Partnership 

Reducing pollution from mobile sources through voluntary incentives is a more cost-effective clean air strategy than adding financial burdens to already heavily regulated stationary sources (businesses such as power plants, gas stations and heavy industry).  "Through the Cleaner Air Partnership, there's a collaborative nature to addressing air quality concerns, unique in the Sacramento region. The business sector is working with health organizations and regulators on common solutions for improving air quality and making our region a great place to live for our employees and their families." said John Lane, project manager with Teichert Materials and Chair of the Cleaner Air Partnership.
Since 1998, our region has been able to access $86.5 million in CMAQ and state funding which has leveraged over $175 million in private funding to support diesel engine change-outs, resulting in over 4.0 tons per day in NOx reductions over the past eleven years (2004-2015), according the Sacramento Air Quality Management District.

The region is making good progress toward meeting air quality goals. But there is more work to be done, especially as federal air quality standards are strengthened in order to protect our health.
The Cleaner Air Partnership is a joint project of Breathe California of Sacramento-Emigrant Trails, the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce and Valley Vision to help the Sacramento Region meet clean air standards that protect health and promote economic growth.