SCAQMD (South Coast Air Quality Management District) Governing Board Chairman William A. Burke, Ed.D. (Courtesy Photo)

The South Coast Air Quality Management District today awarded $47.4 million to 26 businesses, organizations, universities, government agencies and utility companies in the South Coast Basin and Coachella Valley to help them purchase and upgrade their equipment with cleaner and energy efficient technologies. Much of the funding will be directed at environmental justice communities that are close to industrial areas and are some of the hardest hit by air pollution. The projects are located in all four counties in SCAQMD’s jurisdiction.

“By partnering with and providing funding to projects that coincide with SCAQMD’s goals, we can begin to replace older, higher-emitting appliances and equipment, support infrastructure that promotes cleaner and renewable fuels, upgrade engines and vehicles to zero- and near-zero emission technologies and help green our ports,” said Wayne Nastri, SCAQMD’s executive officer. “Reductions in air pollution must come from several sectors to benefit public health for our communities and our local economy.”

To meet federal Clean Air Act requirements for the region, SCAQMD uses an array of methods to reduce air pollution that includes incentive funding to support cost-effective and feasible projects to aid in achieving SCAQMD’s air quality goals.

“Great strides have been made in air pollution control programs but health-based air quality standards cannot be achieved without significant further emission reductions from stationary and mobile sources,” Nastri said. “In order to meet these goals, we must use every tool in our toolbox to meet and achieve our clean air objectives.”

SCAQMD’s 2016 Air Quality Management Plan seeks to achieve and maintain federal air quality standards within attainment deadlines to comply with federal Clean Air Act requirements. The region must meet the 1-hour ozone, 8-hour ozone, 24-hour PM2.5, and annual PM2.5 National Ambient Air Quality Standards within the next 12 years.

Funds for these projects come from air quality penalty settlements, mitigation fees and other sources.