CEC Receives Grant to Address Air Quality in North County
Source: Community Environmental Council
Today the Community Environmental Council (CEC) announced it is the proud recipient of a competitive grant for $300,000 to monitor and share findings on air pollution, wildfire smoke, and pesticide exposure at the neighborhood level throughout Guadalupe and the Santa Maria Valley.
"Everyone deserves to be air aware,” said Mireya Piña, Parent Engagement Coordinator for Family Service Agency at Little House by the Park in Guadalupe. “There are a lot of health-related concerns like asthma and stroke due to fire, smoke, and diesel exhaust in our air. At the end of the day, we're talking about air equity. When we look at that lack of equity in Santa Barbara County, some people can stay protected and informed. But, at the same time, other groups in the community can't afford that luxury and rely on organizations to stay informed of things like air pollution."
The grant was awarded by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to implement Assembly Bill 617 which requires the state to support on-the-ground efforts to reduce exposure to pollution and address its underlying causes. CEC was chosen because of its emerging role within the community as a resource for elevating the priorities and voices of residents who have been disproportionately burdened by climate change and pollution impacts. CEC’s Guadalupe Community Air Monitoring Project is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment – particularly in disadvantaged communities.
“The Community Air Grants provided by CARB are an important tool to help residents and Tribal communities throughout the state identify and combat the harmful effects of local air pollution -- and create a cleaner environment for their families,” said California Air Resources Board Chair Liane Randolph.
CEC will use the funds to support community-scale air quality monitoring, bilingual education, and community engagement in Guadalupe and adjoining areas of the Santa Maria Valley. The project was planned using information shared by farmworkers and other community members in the project area. The overall goal is to create a greater sense of awareness of local air quality and the impacts of potential pollution, ultimately reducing the community’s exposure to air pollution, wildfire smoke, and pesticides.
“Clean air is a fundamental right. Yet air pollution disproportionately impacts those who have been marginalized and have less access to the resources and institutional support needed to build more resilient communities. This project seeks to change that,” said Alhan Diaz-Correa, Climate Justice Associate at Community Environmental Council.
This investment will allow CEC to expand local air quality monitoring at the neighborhood-level, increase data collection on local air quality and share air quality data analysis so impacted communities can better understand air pollution and its health effects. CEC’s partner, Blue Tomorrow, will lead technical air monitoring for the project and support CEC’s community engagement activities. Other partners supporting the project include: the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District, Guadalupe Union School District, Kermit McKenzie Intermediate School, Los Amigos de Guadalupe and UC Santa Barbara Global Environmental Justice, Family Service Agency- Little House by the Park.
"Congratulations to the Community Environmental Council (CEC) on their successful California Air Resources Control Board grant application. This California state grant requires community engagement which creates more equitable solutions to air quality issues. As a result, this work will benefit environmentally vulnerable communities like Guadalupe and the Santa Maria Valley. I am looking forward to seeing the community-driven solutions and cleaner air for Senate District 19," said Senator Monique Limón.
About the Community Environmental Council (CEC)
Recognized as a 2020 California Nonprofit of the Year and 2020 City of Santa Barbara Climate Hero, CEC has worked since 1970 to incubate and innovate real life environmental solutions that directly affect the California Central Coast. Our current work advances rapid and equitable solutions to the climate crisis – including ambitious zero carbon goals, drawdown of excess carbon, and protection against the impacts of climate change. Our programs lead to clean vehicles, solar energy, resilient food systems and reduction of single-use plastic. Learn more about why CEC is one of only five nonprofits in Santa Barbara County to have the highest possible ratings on Charity Navigator and Guidestar at CECSB.org/impact. Find CEC on the web at CECSB.org and on Facebook.com/CECSB, Instagram.com/CEC_SB, Twitter.com/CECSB, and LinkedIn.com/CECSB.
CARB is the lead agency in California for cleaning up the air and fighting climate change to attain and maintain health-based air quality standards. Its mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through the effective reduction of air and climate pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. CARB is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment — particularly in disadvantaged communities.
About Blue Tomorrow
Blue Tomorrow is an environmental consulting group based out of Santa Barbara, California that specializes in air quality, water resources, and land management services. Blue Tomorrow works with tribal governments, community-based nonprofits, and government agencies to provide solutions for improving environmental resources and protecting people from exposure to harmful pollutants. Blue Tomorrow has developed air monitoring networks in communities throughout California that continuously detect pollutants in real-time and transmit data to publicly available websites. At Blue Tomorrow, our philosophy is to deliver unbiased and scientifically sound information to help our clients and their mission of improving environmental and public health.
Mar 19, 2022 09:54 AM
Is there a county-wide assessment of air quality available that shows air quality in each zip code or general area available to the public? Was it was used to assess which areas needed help and what the pollutants are/were?
Mar 21, 2022 03:43 PM
LUVADUCK, you can find hourly air quality conditions and daily forecasts for Santa Barbara County on Santa Barbara County APCD's website: www.ourair.org/todays-air-quality/. I also recommend checking the EPA Fire & Smoke map during wildfire smoke events; this map shows readings from permanent monitoring stations, temporary monitoring stations, and low-cost sensors. That map is found here: https://fire.airnow.gov/#. You can also visit APCD's website to find annual Air Quality Reports for the county: https://www.ourair.org/air-monitoring/.