This funding will cover incentives for replacing heavy-duty trucks, heavy-duty agriculture equipment, school buses, and other incentives to help improve the air quality.
The goal is to reduce nearly 700 tons of emissions in the community. There are currently 25 measures that are in the process of being finalized for the communities of Arvin and Lamont.
AB 617 is a bill focused on air protection; it’s a state program that started in 2018 with the selection of several different communities that were chosen for focused resources such as funding and agency assistance. Some of the communities that have previously been selected include South Central Fresno, Shafter, and Stocken.
Arvin and Lamont were selected to be part of AB 617 in February 2021. Since then, AB 617 has been working with the communities of Arvin and Lamont to help improve the air quality.
Last Wednesday, AB 617 met with the communities of Arvin and Lamont to finalize the incentives that the community needed the most to reduce air pollution. This was the first time AB 617 has met in person since COVID started.
“Folks are concerned about heavy-duty trucks, the emissions from the trucks, the traffic through the community, and trucks coming in and out of various industrial sources and other types of warehouses in the area. Folks are also concerned about dust in general whether that is created from the trucks in their community or just by the fact that they are surrounded by a lot of open fields,” said Jessica Olsen, Director of Community Strategies and Resources.
AB 617 is working closely to get resources for the Arvin and Lamont communities by partnering with the California Air Resources Board, getting community members involved with the grant program, and funding agriculture burning to chip instead of burning agricultural material.
There is support from AB 617 to create a rerouting study with the Kern County Council of Government (COG) to reroute trucks away from the communities of Arvin and Lamont to minimize emissions.
Other measures that are in the process of being finalized include:
- Residential and commercial lawn/ garden equipment
- Incentives for vehicle repair and replacement
- Urban Greening
- Vegetative Barriers
- Road, sidewalk installation, & bike paths
Community members want to improve air pollution coming from industrial areas such as the oil and gas industry, and the dust in their community by providing cleaner emissions from agriculture including pesticides.
“The department of pesticide regulation has been committed to working with state and local agriculture commissioners to identify pesticide use in the area to commit to more monitoring and to bring the committee to be involved,” said Jessica Olsen.
There is an effort to create a notification system statewide for pesticide use and the committee is in the process of furthering discussions on a variety of other things that are still in the work.
Community Air Monitoring is another effort that AB 617 is working on to provide air monitors in Arvin and Lamont. There is one air monitor near the communities located by Kern Oil Refinery at Mt. View Middle School that AB 1647 deployed six months ago, and it is currently monitoring that area. The goal is to add seven air monitors in Arvin and Lamont.
It is a five-year program to implement all measures that are finalized. Some measures are faster than others such as switching to near zero or zero-emission heavy-duty trucks, vehicles, and school buses.
AB 617 is currently finalizing the current measures with the communities of Arvin and Lamont. The final measures will be reviewed by the Air District’s Governing Board on June 16.