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Clean air should be our mission every day, but especially on October 7th

10/06/20

 

Clean air is our right, not a privilege. Wherever we live — in a suburban cul de sac, in the heart of an urban center, or near a port or industrial facility– everyone deserves to breathe clean air.  Unfortunately, too many Californians, especially communities of color, suffer severe health impacts from breathing unhealthy air.

Clean Air Day on October 7 is an opportunity for all Californians to take action to help make healthy air a reality for more of our state’s residents.

Many of our state’s major metropolitan areas have poor air quality. According to the American Lung Association’s State of the Air Report, the six regions in the U.S. with the worst air quality are all in California, and include Los Angeles (#1) and San Diego (#6).

Raging wildfires, heat waves and the COVID-19 pandemic are overwhelming our state.   50 million people in California, Oregon and Washington live in counties that have had at least one day of “unhealthy” air quality during this year’s wildfire season and our recent heat waves have increased  smog.  A recent Harvard study concluded that individuals living in areas with poor air quality are at an increased risk for health problems or death due to COVID-19.

The imperative for clean air has never been more important.

As three County Supervisors who are committed to making our air healthier, we have all taken actions as local Air District Board members to improve air quality in our respective communities. Two of us also serve on the California Air Resources Board where we are aggressively setting policies to fight climate change and reduce pollution.

This year, the Air Resources Board passed new regulations to transition California to zero-emission heavy-duty trucks.  This mandate builds on previous actions to require all new public transit buses in our state to be zero-emission starting in 2029.   We strongly support Governor Newsom’s recent Executive Order directing the Air Resources Board to develop regulations to require all in-state sales of passenger vehicles and trucks to be zero-emission by 2035.

We are also cleaning up unhealthy emissions from heavy duty trucks and ships at ports across California, which border many of our environmental justice communities.  With our recent adoption of the At Berth Rule, ships will be required to plug into electricity when they are docked at port resulting in a significant reduction of toxic emissions.

These bold actions help us achieve the goal of clean air for all.  However, improving our air quality doesn’t just happen because of decisions by elected leaders. Everyone can be part of the movement to improve our air quality. READ MORE