By: Mario Conde
The Air Pollution Control District requested to the Imperial County Board of Supervisors to continue the agreement with Comite Civico del Valle for AB617 air quality monitoring services for the El Centro, Calexico, Heber corridor.
The board discussed this at their Aug. 6 meeting but decided to take no action as a recommendation from Chairman Ryan Kelley since there were no representatives from Comite Civico at the meeting to answer some of the board’s concerns.
In 2017, then-California Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 617 to develop a new community-focused program to more effectively reduce exposure to air pollution and preserve public health. This bill directs the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and all local air districts, including the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District, to take measures to protect communities disproportionally impacted by air pollution.
Comite Civico Executive Dir., Luis Olmedo, said this partnership has been beneficial for the valley.
“These partnerships are the key to success for this program. Just like we’ve been working together aiming the success of this program, we need to continue to grow our partnerships, with the community and key legislators that will help us achieve greater success,” Olmedo said.
This agreement calls for Comite Civico to operate, maintain, and install 15 new air monitors.
He added this program is enabling the district and comite civico to enhance monitoring in the community corridor. Olmedo said Comite Civico began enhancing the current community air quality monitoring network by installing the first of fifteen proposed community level monitors at the Air District’s office.
“This can be used to refine the calibration because we now have a permanent collocation with regulatory-grade equipment. The more we refine the calibration, the better data we can give the community through our real-time air quality alerts Recently the APCD revisited their agricultural burn policy, to create a greater buffer to protect sensitive receptors,” Olmedo stated.
Olmedo added that future objectives are the addition of fifteen community monitors to the AB617 corridor and recruiting schools in the corridor to the School Flag Program.
“With these resources in place, we hope to educate and provide the tools needed to reduce exposure to bad air quality to the people of Calexico, Heber, and El Centro just like we do with the existing community network. We’re also aiming to use these meetings, events, and milestones to educate the communities on the progress we’re all trying to make in improving all of our quality of life.
“The need for expanding the north end of Imperial County has also been identified, Comité Cívico will continue to work diligently in partnership with our community, the local Air District, and the California Air Resources Board into presenting a new nomination for the Imperial County North end, ” Olmedo said.