September 8, 2016
The South Coast Air Quality Management District is seeking proposals for up to $2.77 million in environmental projects benefitting residents in the City of Torrance.
Funding for the projects comes from a settlement with ExxonMobil for air pollution violations related to the Feb. 18, 2015, explosion at its former Torrance refinery and activities related to the restart of the refinery in May 2016.
“It’s important that these monies stay in the community and benefit the residents impacted by refinery operations,” said Wayne Nastri, SCAQMD’s acting executive officer. “We are working closely with residents and community leaders to ensure we fund projects that provide the maximum benefit to the community.”
On Aug. 24, SCAQMD hosted a community meeting in Torrance to seek input and ideas from residents and community leaders on the use of the settlement funds, including types of projects and scoring criteria. The majority of suggestions focused on air quality monitoring, community alert/notification systems, and outreach and education. A number of other ideas were suggested, including various infrastructure improvements, community safety, education and emergency preparedness, as well as projects to address toxic health concerns.
On Sept. 2, SCAQMD’s Board approved the release of a request for proposals. To assist those interested in preparing and submitting proposals, SCAQMD will host a bidder’s conference on Sept. 21 at 4 p.m. at the Ken Miller Recreation Center at 3330 Civic Center Drive in Torrance. SCAQMD staff will be available at the meeting to provide assistance and answer questions.
The deadline to submit proposals to SCAQMD is Nov. 2 at 1 p.m. To download a copy of the request for proposals, visit www.aqmd.gov/grants-bids. Proposals received will be reviewed by a panel of experts and ranked based on a project’s overall benefit to residents in the Torrance area.
Staff will provide information to the Board in October on the status and potential uses of $22.4 million in Rule 1118 mitigation funds and receive direction from the Board on how to proceed. The funding available -- $18.5 million from the former ExxonMobil refinery and about $3.9 million from three other refineries -- comes from fees collected for flaring-related events.
In other action on Sept. 2, the SCAQMD Board:
- Recognized up to $3.7 million from the California Air Resources Board to continue implementation of SCAQMD’s popular “Replace Your Ride” incentive program to help residents purchase newer, less-polluting vehicles. To date, over 800 older passenger vehicles have been replaced with newer, cleaner vehicles and over 1,100 residents are on the waiting list to participate in the program
SCAQMD is the air pollution control agency for Orange County and major portions of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties