The Coalition for Clean Air has hosted the annual California Air Quality Awards for over 25 years. At lot has changed over that time, but one thing that has remained constant is our appreciation for those who have helped move air quality forward.
California has some of the most ambitious clean air goals in the nation. To achieve the State’s vision, it is going to take a diversity of stakeholders. From philanthropy to industry to local government to State government, our honorees are making our climate and air quality goals a reality.
There is no more important sector to the Coalition for Clean Air and our nonprofit partners than philanthropy. Grants from the William + Flora Hewlett Foundation have helped move us forward to improve air quality and fight climate change in ways we never even thought possible. With only 2% of all foundation funding dedicated to the fight against climate change, the Hewlett Foundation plays a vital role in advancing the cause toward a more resilient future.
Local government does not get enough credit in moving good clean air policies forward. For this reason, we are proud to recognize the Antelope Valley Transit Agency. The 13 electric buses – built with local union labor – they are committed to put on the road will dramatically cut emissions. (Check out their press release on the award here).
Clean air can’t move forward if corporations aren’t willing to invest in the new technologies and infrastructure to get us there. CR&R Environmental Services has invested $55 million to make the first renewable methane project in California a reality. Likewise, BYD took its expertise in battery technology and moved into the electric bus space in a big way. The result: hundreds of union-backed green jobs, increasing number of electric buses on California’s roads and California’s first badly needed renewable digester plant.
Last but certainly not least, California wouldn’t be the world leader in the fight against climate and change and air pollution if it wasn’t for people like Sandy Berg. During her 13 years at the California Air Resources Board, she has overseen some of the most ambitious climate goals in the country which she is able to combine with her “day job” of running her families established, leader-in-the-field-of-responsible- environmental –practices paint company.
As the world’s eighth largest economy, California is making choices today that will lead the way for the nation to follow. Through effective public policy and practical business solutions, we will improve air quality, protect public health and prevent climate change.
Congratulations to our honorees and thank you for all they’ve done for cleaner air in California.