The California Air Resources Board approved a community emissions reduction program for the Eastern Coachella Valley near the Salton Sea to reduce air pollution emission in the area, it was announced Friday.
The approval marks the start of additional measures being taken by The South Coast Air Quality Management District to reduce pollution affecting “low-income” communities in the northern area of the Salton Sea.
According to CARB, the program is being implemented because the northern area of the Salton Sea suffers from a high amount of air pollutants due to emissions from diesel-powered vehicles, dust from recreational off-roading, open burning, illegal dumping and pesticide applications.
A community emissions reduction program specifically targets what CARB considers to be communities overburdened by air pollution emissions.
Once a community is selected for a community emissions reduction program, the air district in charge of the community must develop and adopt the program within a year and provide annual progress reports to CARB, according to the board.
CARB highlights a number of actions to specifically be taken in the northern Salton Sea region such as replacing older diesel school buses, incentivizing the replacement of “old high-polluting” on- and off-road equipment, higher enforcement against illegal dumping and open-burning and providing alternatives to agricultural burning.
The board will also expand monitoring networks and improve notification systems for dust events in the area.
“In adopting the plan, the board directed The South Coast Air Quality Management District and CARB staff to guide the implementation, including additional discussion, information and clarification to help ensure the plan will achieve measurable emissions reductions in the Eastern Coachella Valley communities,” the statement released by CARB said.
The South Coast Air Quality Management District formed a committee made up of 38 members including local residents, representatives of community-based organizations and other stakeholders to develop the plan, according to CARB. The committee held 25 meetings between January 2020 and June 2021 to develop the plan.
This is the second community emissions reduction program approved for the Salton Sea region.