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Today, the California Air Resources Board chose health!

CARB heard testimony from over 140 people including: residents, advocates, agencies, and industry from up and down California calling for the Advanced Clean Truck Rule to be adopted.

Included below in this post is testimony from EHC in support of this groundbreaking rule as we continue to advance our call for clean air in San Diego!

What was surprising to me personally, is how much others look to our State for leadership, innovation, and guidance in advancing clean vehicle technology and new economies while protecting communities, moving away from fossil fuels causing severe health impacts from structural inequities in communities of color; and reducing greenhouse gasses affecting climate change.

From New York to Washington State support and partnerships continue to grow. We also applaud the AB 617 Portside Steering Committee for providing a statement of support and noting that these measures will assist our local efforts such as trucks serving cargo terminals at the Port of San Diego.

David Flores
Air Quality Campaign Director
Environmental Health Coalition

 

EHC TESTIMONY AT CARB IN FAVOR OF ACT RULE (06-25-2020)

Good morning, I am David Flores of Environmental Health Coalition.

Like many of the groups and individuals here today, EHC works in EJ communities that rank very high on CalEnviroScreen and suffer the health and safety impacts of disproportionate truck traffic. EHC supports this rule in its current form and we urge adoption.

In addition to the AB 617 Portside communities of Barrio Logan and west National City, the San Diego region also includes the border area, with its heavy burden of truck traffic from both sides of the border.

Aclima air sampling in 2019 found black carbon levels that, at the high end, correspond to a cancer risk level of over 2000 per million in the Otay Mesa area.

More recently Aclima week-to-week average values in the Portside and Border Communities during the COVID Stay at home order form March 20th to April 24th present a reduction in black carbon during the first 5 weeks, however, levels increased the last two weeks back to pre-COVID levels.

This does correspond with our information about diesel sources that impact our communities:

  • Port cargo volumes were down only a little, or even up in the case of some imports; the shipyards have continued to operate throughout this period, and there is still truck traffic in the AB 617 Portside community.
  • For the Border area in Otay Mesa and San Ysidro: Cross border commercial traffic is considered essential and has been allowed to continue across the border.
  • SANDAG statistics for Commercial truck crossings in 2019 through the state’s 3 commercial POEs (Otay Mesa, Tecate & Calexico East) broke a new record last year, processing more than 1.4 million northbound trucks.
  • Of that 1.4 Million, approximately 800,000 of those crossings were from the Otay Mesa POE truck crossing. Keep in mind, this does not account for the 2 to 5 hours of idling that these trucks spend cued up at the border waiting to cross.

We are already doing everything we can locally to reduce truck impacts. Working with the City of San Diego, the San Diego Air Pollution Control District, and the Port of San Diego, we are:

  • Working with the City to establish and enforce truck routes;
  • Working with the Port to educate truck drivers on the new routes;
  • Working through AB 617 to incentivize cleaner trucks in our communities and land use strategies to create additional solutions to traffic chokepoints and conflicts; and
  • Pursuing an effort of 3 decades to reform the land use plans in these communities to better separate industrial from residential land uses.

However, local efforts cannot compel a faster industrywide shift to electric trucks and away from fossil fuels. We need action at the state level to require zero-emission trucks in California at the earliest possible. CARB should not invest in false solutions such as polluting natural gas trucks, and these should not be considered under ACT and related rules.

EHC supports this rule in its current form and we urge adoption. We want to thank CARB staff for listening to EJ and clean freight advocates and strengthening this rule.

 

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This March, our lives were completely changed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Public transit ridership plummeted and unemployment skyrocketed. The pandemic spread, and by April 20, nearly 100 transit workers in the US had died from the coronavirus due to the lack of basic safety measures. The world came to an abrupt stop and we all pivoted to adjust to our new reality.

EHC’s transportation justice work had to pivot as well. Along with community members and partner organizations, we had worked tirelessly for the past two years advocating for MTS to prioritize equity and environmental justice (EJ) communities as it shaped the Elevate SD 2020 ballot measure. Then in April, MTS took Elevate SD 2020 off of the November ballot in response to the pandemic. The potential for an infusion of $24 billion in transit funding over the next 50 years – gone!

The pandemic is still with us. Clean and safe transit is still a critical need. So despite the loss, EHC and the San Diego Transportation Equity Working Group (SDTEWG) have continued our work for transit justice.

And, we are making progress!

On June 18, MTS strengthened its commitment to zero-emission buses by unanimously approving our recommendations to improve its transition plan, which lay out how the agency will move from dirty to clean buses:

  • Prioritize environmental justice communities to get zero-emission buses first
  • Provide a meaningful community engagement process
  • Include workforce training and safety for transit workers
  • Develop more optional scenarios that accelerate the transition
  • Develop greenhouse gas emission reduction analyses to meet state goals

Our communities need and deserve a just recovery. They cannot afford a “return to normal” that locks in decades of toxic pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, which will lead us into another health crisis from worsened air pollution and climate change. EHC stands ready to work with MTS and our transportation justice allies to ensure a just recovery for all communities.

Image credit: MTS

 

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According to the state’s air quality agency, the California Air Resources Board (CARB), some 70% of cancer risks from breathing polluted air in the state are from diesel. In the San Diego region, 90% of diesel emissions are from mobile sources such as heavy-duty trucks. These vehicles are a major source of toxic diesel particulate matter which is linked to cancer, asthma, heart disease, and many other serious health problems.

EJ communities have more diesel in the air and have higher rates of asthma and other conditions linked to diesel exposure. The Barrio Logan and Logan Heights areas rank in the top 5% statewide on the CalenviroScreen diesel indicator.

We need CARB to act now and act strongly. And we need you to send them a strong message.

CARB will vote on a new Advanced Clean Truck (ACT) at their June 25, 2020 meeting. CARB staff is recommending a strong rule that will result in 15% of heavy-duty trucks on the roads by 2033 be zero-emission. EHC and clean freight activists throughout California support these recommendations.

Please urge CARB to adopt the strong ACT rule proposed by staff. There’s two ways you can do this, both remotely:

  1. Join the CARB meeting via a webinar
  2. Register and call into the meeting

The meeting starts at 9 a.m. on June 25, 2020, and there will be Spanish translation.

For more information on participating, please contact EHC Air Quality Director, David Flores:
Esta dirección de correo electrónico está siendo protegida contra los robots de spam. Necesita tener JavaScript habilitado para poder verlo.; (619) 587-5557 (mobile).

Image credit: Port of San Diego

 

EHC has created this page to share community information and resources about the unfolding COVID-19 crisis. The situation is changing  every day, and we will continue to add new information and resources as they become available. Please be safe and check back regularly for updates.

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This year's theme, "Healthy Housing for All", highlights the importance of safe and healthy living in your home; no matter where you live. Through emphasizing the importance of home maintenance, this month, HUD’s Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes seeks to highlight the connection between your internal environment and your health.

This year's National Healthy Homes Month focuses on:

  • Raising awareness of the importance of Home Maintenance and the impact on health.
  • Educating the public about free local resources available.
  • Encouraging implementation of online activities and events in targeted communities.

 

The Eight Principles of a Healthy Home

8 Principles Healthy Home

(Images courtesy of: HUD/NHHM)