Air quality stole a lot of headlines this week, as the Trump Administration moved to revoke California’s ability to set its own tailpipe emissions standards distinct from those mandated federally by the Environmental Protection Agency. Not only could the move prevent future reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, it could also prevent gains in air quality that are much needed in the San Joaquin Valley and California’s other polluted air basins.
Simultaneously, the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District made a few decisions that could also be significant for local air quality: It approved two community-led plans that aim to improve air quality in a region of South Central Fresno and the Kern County City of Shafter. At a public meeting on Thursday, the governing board approved of both plans unanimously, and for the most part, residents, business representatives and environmental justice advocates agreed in their support for the plans—though not without caveats.
Listen to this interview with FM89’s Kerry Klein to hear more about what’s in these plans, how they were created, and how some community members hope the plans can still be improved.