April will be remembered as the month that clean air went on a rollercoaster. In 2 weeks we went from celebrating a big win on methane emissions to having the wind knocked out of us from the diesel truck industry. As we move forward in our journey, we invite you to join us for the ride.
The good news:
On March 23, the California Air Resources Board adopted the nation’s toughest standards for reducing methane emissions from oil and natural gas production, transmission, distribution and storage operations. This marks a critical next step in the state’s efforts to counteract climate change. The rule mandates regular inspections at facilities and promises to reduce methane releases by as much as 45 percent over the next nine years. The regulation will go into effect in phases, starting Jan. 1, 2018.
Methane is estimated to potentially have 72 times more impact on global warming than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period. Current estimates are that 75,000 tons of methane enters the atmosphere in California through leaky equipment and venting from oil and gas producers. It is expected that California’s methane rule will be the equivalent of taking 280,000 cars off the road for a year.
The bad news:
Clean air suffered setbacks when the Trump Administration reopened the national clean-car standards and when the California Legislature passed Senate Bill 1 (SB1) on April 6, 2017. While SB1 will make major improvements to the transportation system in California, it also includes an unacceptable loophole to allow diesel trucks to keep polluting in communities already burdened with poor air quality. These actions—at the behest of the auto and trucking industries—make it that much more difficult achieve California’s clean air goals.
Let’s be clear: air pollution from freight is killing people in our communities right now. In California, it is estimated that diesel particulate matter causes 3,500 premature deaths per year and is responsible for 70% of total known cancer risk related to air toxics. Communities residing near freight hubs often experience levels of asthma two to three times the state average.
We can’t sit idly by while people suffer, especially when we have technologies available today that can vastly improve air quality in the sector. Your support over the past few months helped us win big on methane and electric cars. Working with doctors, educators, advocates and citizens of all types, we will continue to fight to reverse dirty trucking policies and prevent a rollback of clean car standards. Through education and advocacy, we can make a difference.
Thank you for being a part of our fight to bring clean air to California.
Ways to get involved: