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Coachella Valley to Receive $53 Million for Air Pollution Reduction Projects

February 7, 2012

Environmental Justice Areas Designated

The South Coast Air Quality Management District today approved a request for proposals for $53 million in air pollution reduction projects in the Coachella Valley.

Funding for the projects comes from air pollution mitigation fees paid by operators of the CPV Sentinel Energy Project, a power plant now under construction in Desert Hot Springs.

Although not required by legislation that facilitated the mitigation funding, AQMDs Governing Board today voted unanimously to allocate 100% of funding to projects in the Coachella Valley.

"Keeping 100 percent of the Sentinel air pollution-mitigation funds in the Coachella Valley is the right thing to do. I commend my fellow Board members for their understanding and support for our valley," said AQMD Board member and Riverside County Supervisor John J. Benoit, who represents the Coachella Valley and all of eastern Riverside County. "These mitigation funds now present a unique opportunity, exclusively within the Coachella Valley, to improve our air quality."

AQMD staff will offer workshops and meetings during the next four months to assist community groups and others in preparing proposals for consideration.

AB 1318, co-authored by Assemblyman V. Manuel Perez and Supervisor Benoit and adopted in 2009, allowed for the sale of emission credits from AQMDs internal emission credit bank for the construction and operation of the Sentinel Energy Project. Under the legislation, the mitigation fees received by AQMD are to be used for emission reduction projects as follows:

At least 30 percent must be spent on projects in environmental justice areas;
At least 30 percent must be spent on projects in close proximity to the plant, defined as within a six-mile radius from the facility; and
The remaining 40 percent can be spent on emission reduction projects at AQMDs discretion.

As part of todays action, AQMD designated environmental justice areas in the Coachella Valley. An environmental justice area is defined as having at least 10 percent of the population living in poverty, based on the 2000 census, and a high level of particulate matter (PM10).

Proposals will be evaluated by AQMD based on their achievement of AQMDs air quality goals; job creation within the Coachella Valley, proponents expertise and other criteria. AQMDs Governing Board will award contracts to the top-ranked proposals.

Examples of potential emission reduction projects include school bus and heavy-duty truck retrofit or replacement, truck stop electrification, school air filtration systems, renewable-energy power projects, and infrastructure improvements such as paving dirt roads, developing parkways and installing electric vehicle charging or compressed natural gas fueling stations. AQMD also encourages other proposals that result in emissions reductions.

To download a copy of the request for proposals, visit after February 8th. The deadline to submit a proposal is June 8 at 5 p.m.

In other action today, AQMD approved $5.3 million to replace 72 diesel trash collection trucks and 41 heavy-duty diesel goods movement trucks with new natural gas trucks. The new trucks will operate in various areas throughout the Southland. Combined, the new natural gas trash and goods movement trucks will eliminate 71.4 tons per year of nitrogen oxide emissions and 2.47 tons per year of PM emissions.

Funding for the truck replacement projects comes from the Prop. 1B Goods Movement Program.

AQMD is the air pollution control agency for Orange County and major portions of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

This page updated: February 07, 2012