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AQMD Awards Nearly $51 Million for Pollution Reduction Projects in Coachella Valley

January 4, 2013

Following an extensive competitive bid and public participation process, the South Coast Air Quality Management District has awarded nearly $51 million in mitigation funds for 26 emission-reduction projects in the Coachella Valley. 

More than $33 million of the funding will help school districts replace or clean up dirty diesel school buses and install air filtration systems in classrooms, as well as assist local cities with solar panel installations, cleaner vehicles and dust control projects.  A list of approved projects is below.    

This has been an unprecedented opportunity for the Coachella Valley, said William A. Burke, chairman of the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD). Im particularly pleased with the number of projects directly benefitting school children and local communities in the area. 

Funding for the projects comes from $53.3 million paid by Competitive Power Ventures, Inc. to the AQMD for emissions offsets needed to construct and operate CPVs Sentinel power plant in Desert Hot Springs.

We will see 100 percent of the Sentinel mitigation fees stay in the valley and fund innovative projects that will generate substantial benefits to our environment and economy for years to come, said John J. Benoit, Riverside County Supervisor and AQMD Board Member. I thank my fellow board members for their understanding and support of our valley and residents for their impressive input and engagement.

Funding awarded today is the culmination of a year-long intensive public process. In response to the project solicitation, AQMD received 75 proposals for more than 95 emission reduction projects requesting a total of more than $375 million. A panel of three air quality technical experts scored each proposal according to the criteria outlined in the solicitation.  

AB 1318 (V. M. Perez) requires that funds be spent on emission reductions in the following areas:

   At least 30 percent in environmental justice areas, defined by AQMD as communities with at least 10 percent of residents living below the federal poverty level that also have high particulate matter (PM10) levels;

   At least 30 percent on projects in close proximity to the plant, defined by AQMD as within a six-mile radius from the facility; and

   The remaining 40 percent in any location within AQMDs four-county jurisdiction. While not required by AB 1318, AQMDs Board decided in February 2012 to dedicate this entire amount to projects in the Coachella Valley.

Up to five percent of the $53.3 million in mitigation funding will be used by AQMD for its cost of administering the contracts.  Staff will provide progress reports to AQMDs Administrative Committee every six months or more often if needed and provide a comprehensive report in three years to evaluate air emissions and local economic benefits.

For a complete listing of all projects received, including a ranking of projects and a list of back-up projects, visit

 In other action today, the Board:

     Awarded an additional $2.4 million to further assist Coachella Valley and Desert Sands unified school districts to replace and retrofit additional buses in their fleets.  This award compliments funding awarded to both school districts from the AB 1318 Mitigation Fund for school bus replacements, retrofits and necessary fueling infrastructure; and

    Approved funding to establish an air monitoring network at two locations in the Salton Sea area to measure hydrogen sulfide emissions from the sea.  The action stems from a major odor incident in September 2012 that originated at the Salton Sea.


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


AB 1318 Projects Approved for Funding 

Project Proponent

Project Type

Project Award

Border Valley Trading

Liquefied natural gas (LNG)/compressed natural gas (CNG) stations


Renova Energy

Solar panels at a facility in Thousand Palms


County of Riverside

Paving and dust control at mobile home parks


City of Desert Hot Springs

CNG vehicles and station upgrade


Desert Sands Unified School District (USD)

CNG and propane buses


Coachella Valley USD

CNG buses


Coachella Valley USD

Air filtration systems at Mecca and Saul Martinez elementary schools in Mecca


Coachella Valley USD

CNG fueling facility


Sun Power

Solar panels at College of the Desert


City of Coachella

CNG station/solar carport


Desert Sands USD

CNG station upgrade


City of Palm Springs

Solar panel installations at city buildings


Coachella Valley Association of Governments

Parkway 1e11


IQ Air

Air filtration for schools in environmental justice (EJ) areas within Coachella Valley USD


Angel View Crippled Childrens Foundation

CNG vehicles

(to be funded with AB 1318 Mitigation Fund interest only)

Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians

Paving and dust control at headquarters, senior center and health center


Sun Wize

Solar panels at Boys and Girls Clubs in EJ areas


City of Coachella

Signal synchronization


Palm Springs USD

Solar project at high school


Quality Interiors

Home weatherization


Summit Installation

Home weatherization


City of Desert Hot Springs

Dust control in populated areas and parking lot of Cabots Museum


St. Elizabeth's of Hungary Food Pantry

CNG vehicles for food delivery


City of Desert Hot Springs

Solar installations on city buildings


Mission Springs Water District

Solar project to reduce operational energy costs


FIND Food Bank

Cleaner gasoline vehicles




This page updated: January 08, 2013