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Ambitious Air Improvement Program Brought Community To The Table - Here's How It's Working So Far

Kerry Klein
Valley Public Radio
Fresno resident Kim McCoy, standing on the right, speaks about AB 617 during a meeting of the Valley air district's governing board on September 19, 2019.

The San Joaquin Valley lies underneath one of the two most polluted air basins in the country. That’s why, in 2018, two communities here – one in Shafter and one in south-central Fresno – were selected among the first to participate in Assembly Bill 617, an ambitious state law that enables local involvement in air protection.

Now, 18 months into the community-led process, FM89’s Kerry Klein checks in on its progress in Fresno with Central California Environmental Justice Network Director Nayamin Martinez, Caglia Environmental Health and Safety Manager Janet Gardner, and Jonathan London, a professor of human ecology at UC Davis.

Kerry Klein is an award-winning reporter whose coverage of public health, air pollution, drinking water access and wildfires in the San Joaquin Valley has been featured on NPR, KQED, Science Friday and Kaiser Health News. Her work has earned numerous regional Edward R. Murrow and Golden Mike Awards and has been recognized by the Association of Health Care Journalists and Society of Environmental Journalists. Her podcast Escape From Mammoth Pool was named a podcast “listeners couldn’t get enough of in 2021” by the radio aggregator NPR One.