Imperial County Air Pollution Control District to Apply for California Air Resources Board Grant; Gives Update on EPA Visit

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imperial county logoToday, the Imperial County Board of Supervisors approved the Imperial County Air Pollution Control Officer Brad Poiriez’s request to submit a grant application to the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) Carl Moyer Program for $329,999 and authorized utilization of DMV Surcharge Funds to provide the required matching funds.  In addition to the grant application approval, Air Pollution Control Officer Poiriez reported to the Board on the recent visit of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation Janet McCabe.

The Imperial County Air Pollution Control District (ICAPCD) has participated in CARB’s Carl Moyer Program for sixteen years, in which the funds, along with DMV surcharge funds, were used to replace approximately 235 non-certified diesel engines with new certified diesel engines in agricultural water pumps and tractors resulting in the reduction of Imperial Valley’s Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) and Particulate Matter (PM) inventories. This grant will be enough to replace approximately six heavy duty diesel engines.

Furthermore, Air Pollution Control Officer Poiriez informed the board of a tour of the Salton Sea, renewable energy facilities, and agricultural lands ICAPCD staff gave to Acting Assistant Administrator McCabe during her visit to Imperial County last Wednesday, February 3, 2016.  McCabe was able to see first-hand the vastness of the Salton Sea, its exposed playa and the many dangers the Sea poses should current restoration efforts fail.  After the tour, Ms. McCabe and her staff met with Supervisor Michael Kelley, county staff, Ms. Aide Fulton and her staff at the Imperial Valley Child Asthma Program (IVCAP) to discuss all of the work that ICAPCD has done to reduce emissions, improve Imperial County’s air quality, and create better public health outcomes.

“We are grateful that Acting Assistant Administrator McCabe took the time from her busy schedule to get a first-hand look at the incomparable air quality challenges facing our community,” said District 3 Supervisor Michael Kelley.  “I am hopeful that her trip and our time with her will be fruitful and lead to further discussion and partnerships to continue to improve Imperial Valley’s air quality and advance restoration efforts of the Salton Sea.  I want to commend Mr. Poiriez and his staff for working diligently to compel a prominent official to visit and meet with us.”

“This was a fortunate opportunity to be visited by a high-ranking EPA official,” stated Air Pollution Control Officer Poiriez.  “Ms. McCabe is genuinely concerned and understands the unique air quality issues that Imperial County faces.  She wants to be engaged in efforts to assist us in addressing those challenges and expressed that she was impressed at how much the ICAPCD does with the limited staff and budget.”

During the discussion, Poiriez highlighted some of ICAPCD’s recent accomplishments, including investing approximately $525,000 to further ugrade the ICAPCD monitoring network with real time monitors and forecasting elements that provides the community with updated air quality information on the Imperial Valley Air Quality Website, www.imperialvalleyair.org.  Moreover, ICAPCD invested $14.5 million grant funds over a four year period to replace slightly more than 300 trucks and retrofit an additional 24 heavy duty trucks, implemented the Low Emission School Bus program spending $3 million dollars to retrofit 54 and replace an additional 13 older dirty school buses with cleaner lower emitting technology and continues to sponsor local efforts such as the Stop and Listen Asthma Forum, and other environmental awareness efforts.

For more information about the Imperial County Air Pollution Control District, please visit their website.