In response to Assembly Bill 617 (C. Garcia, 2017), the California Air Resources Board (CARB) established the Community Air Protection Program, which focuses on reducing exposure in California communities most impacted by air pollution. Regional air districts are tasked with assisting selected communities in developing air monitoring and emissions reduction plans. In the Bay Area, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), a BARC member agency, is partnering with community members, community-based organizations, local governments and others to identify and address key sources of pollution in local impacted communities.
Successfully reducing pollution exposure in vulnerable communities will require ambitious action across government agencies, including more stringent air quality regulations, targeted transportation and freight investments, and strategic local land use planning. Recognizing this, BARC is working with its member agencies to scale up collaboration at the regional level to implement the ambitious strategies that communities have identified to reduce pollution exposure through AB 617.
In 2018, the initial Bay Area communities selected were Richmond-San Pablo and West Oakland. Richmond-San Pablo is currently initiating a community air monitoring program driven by local concerns. In West Oakland, the West Oakland Community Action Plan was finalized in 2019. The plan is a first-of-its-kind community-led emissions reduction strategy that recommends the specific actions necessary to address pollution exposure in West Oakland. Proposed future Bay Area communities for AB 617 funds include East Oakland, Richmond, San Francisco, San Leandro, and Vallejo.