Our Mission

Our mission is to protect public health, improve air quality, and prevent climate change.

 

Our Approach

It takes more than one person or one group to make change. We work collaboratively with advocates, organizations, companies, legislators and more across the state to find cooperative solutions to California’s most pressing air quality issues.

For over 45 years, we have made significant improvements to California’s air by:

  • advocating innovative policy solutions within state and federal legislative and regulatory avenues.
  • encouraging early adoption of new technologies.
  • advising businesses on regulatory compliance and clean air practices.
  • empowering our allies with technical and policy expertise.
  • educating decision-makers and the public on air pollution solutions.

 

Areas of Work

California Climate Equity

Climate change disproportionately affects disadvantaged communities, especially communities where low-income people of color live. But these underserved communities have historically received fewer government resources to maintain a decent quality of life. Our efforts to combat climate change and its effects center on those who already suffer most from air pollution.

Ports & Freight Transport

Heavy-duty trucks are only 2% of the vehicles on the road yet emit 50% of the cancer-causing diesel particulate matter and ozone on California’s roads. Communities near ports suffer incredible rates of asthma and lung cancer. We’re fighting for laws and regulations cleaning up the ships, trucks and trains that bring goods to California and the nation.

Driving Clean Transportation

Transportation is the single largest source of greenhouse gas pollution in California, accounting for 39 percent of emissions. Four in ten Californians, more than in any other state, live close enough to a freeway or busy road, resulting in an increased risk of asthma, cancer and other health hazards. We’re advancing the cars, trucks, trains, planes and buses Californians use every day.

General Air Advocacy

Many of California’s communities are are among the most vulnerable, environmentally burdened areas in the nation. We’re working to comprehensively regulating air toxics, energy, and other pollution sources at the local, state and federal levels.

 

Recent Victories

  • Led the push for SB 210, which mandates a smog check-like program for heavy-duty trucks. According to CARB, between the years 2023 through 2031, the program will remove 93,000 tons of oxides of nitrogen and 1,600 tons of particulate matter from the air. These emissions reductions are equivalent of taking 145,000 and 375,000 trucks off the roads in California respectively.
  • Helped found the Charge Ahead California Campaign, with the goal of putting one million electric vehicles on California roads in the next decade and ensuring that low-income Californians benefit from the transition to clean transportation. Learn more on Charge Ahead and SB 1275.
  • In 2015, Governor Jerry Brown issued an important Executive Order on Freight, which will transition California to adopt zero-emission technologies in a sector responsible for 27 million metric tons of CO2 in 2012 and 6% of all Greenhouse Gas Emissions.
  • Conceived and originally sponsored SB 535 (De Léon), which requires some of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund dollars (derived from AB 32 pollution allowance auctions) to flow to disadvantaged communities to reduce pollution and provide services and jobs.
  • Successfully sued to prevent a railyard near the Port of Los Angeles from adding millions of tons of air pollution to already overburdened nearby communities.

 

Historic Wins

  • Won the nation’s first ban on “perc,” a toxic dry cleaning chemical containing volatile organic compounds, which create smog and threaten human health.
  • Sponsored and helped pass the “Pavley” bill (AB 1493)—the first law in the nation to reduce the greenhouse gases emitted from cars— providing the model for the first national emission standards for cars.
  • Spearheaded California’s original Smog Check program, which reduces 100 tons of automobile pollution daily.
  • Obtained an unprecedented $50 million settlement for air quality and neighborhood improvements, including agreement by the Port of Los Angeles’ China Shipping Terminal to commit nearly 75% of ships to “plug in” to an electrical dock outlet instead of running their engines.
  • Persuaded the governor to spend $50 million on cleaner school buses, the South Coast Air Quality Management District to require local agencies to purchase clean vehicles, and both the Los Angeles Unified School District and Metro to clean up their fleets.
  • Won a legal victory against major grocery chains, whose operations exposed low-income communities to toxic diesel exhaust; the settlement required large trucking distribution centers to reduce pollution at their facilities and to send health warnings in both Spanish and English to surrounding communities.

 

These Policies Translate Into

  • A 70% reduction in smog in the Los Angeles area since 1980.
  • More than 500,000 electric cars sold in California.
  • More than than $2 billion invested in programs to combat greenhouse gases, with $1 billion benefiting disadvantaged communities