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May 2021 l Volume 2021-2

In This Issue

Public Hearing on Proposed Refinery Rule Amendments
Virtual Workshop for AB&I Foundry Draft Health Risk Assessment
Air District Board Appoints Community Steering Committee
Air District Hosts Virtual Permitting Rule Workshop
Air District Offers Millions in Grants
Upcoming Events

In this issue, you’ll find articles about a public hearing to consider adoption of proposed amendments to the Air District’s refinery rules, a workshop to review the health risk assessment for a local metal foundry, and the appointment of a steering committee to help develop an emission reduction plan for the Richmond-North Richmond-San Pablo community. A workshop to cover concepts for amending the Air District’s permitting rules is also featured, as well as a summary of current grant opportunities.

Air District to Hold Public Hearing on Proposed Refinery Rule Amendments

smokestack

On Wednesday, June 2, 2021, the Air District’s Board of Directors will conduct a public hearing on proposed refinery rule amendments at the Air District’s Board Room, 375 Beale Street, San Francisco, at 9:00 AM.

This meeting will be conducted remotely under the procedures authorized by Executive Order N-29-20 issued by Governor Gavin Newsom. The public may observe this meeting and provide verbal comments during the meeting through the meeting webcast by clicking the meeting link that will be available on the Air District’s home page and Board Agendas and Minutes web page.

At the public hearing, the Board will consider adoption of proposed amendments to Regulation 6, Rule 5: Particulate Emissions from Refinery Fluidized Catalytic Cracking Units. Fluidized catalytic cracking units are the largest single source of particulate matter emissions at petroleum refineries. Further reductions of particulate matter emissions are needed to ensure attainment and maintenance of state and national ambient air quality standards and to provide clean air and public health benefits.

These sources were also identified in the Air District’s 2018 Expedited Best Available Retrofit Control Technology Implementation Schedule, which was developed pursuant to California Assembly Bill 617. This schedule included several potential rule development efforts to reduce emissions at industrial sources subject to the state cap-and-trade rule, including potential amendments to Rule 6-5.

The proposed amendments to Rule 6-5 include new and modified limits on ammonia and sulfur dioxide. The proposed amendments also include a direct limit on total particulate matter less than 10 microns in diameter, or total PM10, which includes both filterable and condensable particulate matter. The proposed amendments would also clarify existing rule provisions and improve monitoring requirements.

The Public Hearing Notice, proposed rule amendments, and staff report are available on the Regulation 6, Rule 5 web page in the Rules Under Development section of the Air District website.

Air District and CBE to Co-Host Virtual Workshop for AB&I Foundry Draft Health Risk Assessment

Health Risk Assessment graphic, magnifying glass with doctor

The Air District will hold a joint virtual workshop with Communities for a Better Environment on Friday, May 7, 2021, to present, discuss, and receive comments on a draft health risk assessment for the AB&I Foundry located in East Oakland.

This draft health risk assessment, required by Air District Rule 11-18 and released this April, indicates that emissions from AB&I Foundry pose an elevated health risk, one that requires the facility to submit a risk reduction plan to the Air District that will reduce air pollution exposure to the surrounding community.

Health risks from facility emissions for off-site workers and residences exceed the risk action level of 10 in a million. Toxic metal emissions are the largest contributors to the maximum health risks, with most of these emissions issuing from processes that handle molten metal.

The workshop will be held using Zoom and will take place on Friday, May 7, 2021, from 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM.  For more information on the workshop, visit the Air District’s Rule 11-18 Risk Reduction Facilities web page.

At the workshop, Communities for a Better Environment will share community members’ perspectives. Air District staff will provide presentations and respond to questions about the draft health risk assessment.

The public will have until June 8 to review and provide input on the health risk assessment. Air District staff will respond to all comments before finalizing the report. The health risk assessment and staff contact information is available on the Air District’s Rule 11-18 Risk Reduction Facilities web page.

Under the Air District’s Rule 11-18, Reduction of Risk from Air Toxic Emissions at Existing Facilities, facilities are required to take all necessary measures to reduce health and cancer risks resulting from their operations. Adopted in 2017, Rule 11-18 is the most health-protective toxic air pollution risk control measure in the nation.

Air District Board Appoints Richmond-North Richmond-San Pablo Community Steering Committee

community street graphic

In March, the Air District’s Board of Directors announced the establishment of a community steering committee to help guide the development of the Community Emission Reduction Plan for the Richmond-North Richmond-San Pablo area.

This steering committee is made up of people with diverse backgrounds and will be instrumental in helping the Air District reduce health disparities in an area that has historically experienced a disproportionately high exposure to air pollution.

Under the Air District’s Community Health Protection Program, the Richmond-North Richmond-San Pablo area was selected as a priority community due to its high cumulative exposure burden to air pollution. In accordance with California Assembly Bill 617, the state directs local air districts to work with heavily impacted communities on emission reduction programs and/or air quality monitoring initiatives.

In September, the Air District and a committee of individuals including community organizers, environmental justice advocates and neighborhood groups, as well as education, public health, government and industry stakeholders in the Richmond-North Richmond-San Pablo area released Path to Clean Air, a first-of-its-kind air monitoring plan which defined the geographic boundary for air monitoring, air pollution sources of concern and air monitoring objectives.

Ongoing monitoring will help inform the Community Emission Reduction Plan that is being developed in collaboration with the new steering committee, as well as other ongoing air quality improvement efforts outside of the AB 617 process.

Air District Hosts Virtual Public Workshop on Permitting Rules Amendment Concepts

Air District inspector on the job at facility

On Wednesday, May 12, the Air District will host a virtual public workshop to provide the public with an opportunity to learn about, discuss, and comment on potential concepts for amending the Air District’s permitting rules in Regulation 2: Permits

In response to concerns from the public regarding ongoing permitting activities in overburdened communities - as well as information that demonstrates variation in air quality and health vulnerability at the community level - Air District staff have been working to develop concepts to amend the permitting rules to prioritize environmental justice considerations and further promote the protection of public health and the environment.

The workshop will be held on May 12, from 6-8 PM. For more information about how to attend this Zoom meeting and links, please visit the Air District’s Regulation 2 Amendments web page.

Air District Offers Millions in Grants

Grant Funds Available

The Air District administers a number of grant funding programs that offer incentives for clean air projects.

Grant Funding for Clean Air Projects

Grant programs for Bay Area businesses and public agencies:

Equipment/Engine Replacement/Repower or Conversion, and Infrastructure

  • Carl Moyer Program – $12 million is available for eligible projects that upgrade or replace on-road vehicles, school buses, transit buses, off-road and agricultural equipment, marine equipment, locomotives, and eligible infrastructure projects that support advanced clean vehicles and technology. Applications are being accepted on a first-come, first-served basis until all funds are awarded. www.baaqmd.gov/moyer 
  • Community Health Protection Grant Program – $28 million is available for eligible projects that reduce toxic air emissions and ozone-forming pollutants from mobile and stationary sources by replacing old, high-polluting vehicles and equipment. Priority is given to projects in the AB 617-identified communities of West Oakland, Richmond-San Pablo, East Oakland/San Leandro, Eastern San Francisco, Pittsburg-Bay Point area, San Jose, Tri-Valley area, and Vallejo. Community input plays an important role in guiding the Air District’s outreach and process for identifying priority projects. Applications are being accepted on a first-come, first-served basis until all funds are awarded. www.baaqmd.gov/ab617grants
  • Lower-Emission School Bus Program – Funding is available for public school districts, Joint Powers Authorities (JPAs), and contracted fleets in the Bay Area for bus replacements, engine repowers or electric conversions, natural gas tank replacements, and electric charging and alternative fueling infrastructure projects. Applications are being accepted on a first-come, first-served basis until all funds are awarded. www.baaqmd.gov/lesbp
  • COMING SOON! Other project categories funded by Volkswagen NOx Mitigation Trust Fund - Solicitations for light-duty electric-vehicle infrastructure projects and zero-emission freight and marine projects are anticipated to open in May 2021. Visit: https://www.californiavwtrust.org/ to learn more about these opportunities and sign up for email alerts.
  • Loan Guarantees and Low-Interest Financing: Climate Tech Finance Program – Subsidized financing is available to help Bay Area facilities adopt emerging technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Public facilities can apply for loans ranging from $500,000 to $30 million, up to 30-year terms. Small businesses can apply for loan guarantees up to 90 percent. This program is open and accepting applications now. www.baaqmd.gov/ctf

Grant programs available to Bay Area residents:

  • Clean Cars for All Program, Light-Duty Vehicle Replacement The Clean Cars for All Program is open to all income-qualified Bay Area residents. The program provides varying incentives to retire older, high-polluting vehicles and replace them with newer, cleaner vehicles or with alternative transportation options (e.g. Clipper card).  Eligible vehicles for purchase or lease include hybrid electric, plug-in hybrid, or electric vehicles. This program is open and accepting applications now.  www.baaqmd.gov/cleancarsforall
  • Passenger Car and Light-Duty Truck Retirement – The Vehicle Buy Back Program pays Bay Area residents $1,200 per vehicle to turn in their operable, registered, model year 1997 and older passenger car or light-duty truck for scrapping.  www.baaqmd.gov/vbb
  • COMING SOON! Wood Smoke Reduction – This program is scheduled to open in mid-2021 and will offer financial incentives to encourage Bay Area homeowners to replace qualifying wood-burning devices with zero-emission heat pumps. Priority will be given to qualifying low-income applicants and projects that benefit overburdened communities in the Bay Area. www.baaqmd.gov/woodsmokegrant

Other state-wide grant programs funded by Volkswagen NOx Mitigation Trust:

  • Volkswagen NOx Mitigation Program – Zero-Emission Class 8 Freight and Port Drayage Trucks –This category is administered by the South Coast Air Quality Management District and is intended to support the expansion of zero-emission truck availability in the heaviest weight class. Vehicles eligible for replacement include Class 8 freight trucks (including waste haulers, dump trucks, and concrete mixers) or their engines (2012 model year and older). This category is currently oversubscribed; however, the program will remain open and applications will continue to be accepted in order to generate a back-up list of applications. Projects placed on the back-up list will only be considered if returned or additional funds become available. https://xappprod.aqmd.gov/vw/zero-emission.html 
  • Volkswagen NOx Mitigation Program - Zero-Emission Transit and Shuttle Buses – Funding is available to owners of bus fleets that operate in California to support early adoption of zero-emission bus technologies to reduce harmful exposure for the state’s most sensitive populations. This program is administered by the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. This solicitation is open and accepting applications for transit and shuttle buses on a first-come, first-served basis. http://vwbusmoney.valleyair.org/

Air District Events

This summer, the Air District and Spare the Air will be participating in the following outreach events.

May

Sustainable Silicon Valley’s: Sustain-a-palooza (Virtual Event) 
May 19-20

June

San Mateo County Fair (Virtual Presence Only)
June 5-13

Environmental Resiliency for Tomorrow: Air and Waste Management Association's 114th Annual Conference and Exhibition (Virtual Event)
June 14-17

July

Marin County Fair (Virtual Event)
July 2-4

Bay Area Air Quality Management District
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