(Henrik Rehbinder)- The legislative session that just ended in Sacramento was productive in crafting and passing measures to clean up the air, especially in San Diego’s minority communities where the worst air pollution is found.
A number of environmental projects related to air, water, wind and transportation, all linked to the realization of a clean environment, which especially affects Southern California. They are awaiting Governor Newsom’s enactment.
It is worth mentioning among them the AB 126 of Assemblywoman Eloise Gómez Reyes and Senator Lena González since it will have a direct impact on the air that California residents breathe, by contributing to reduce pollution, direct product of the emission of trucks and transport vehicles.
The San Diego area knows that problem all too well. The permanent emission of toxic gases from the traffic of diesel trucks on highways and in industrial warehouses is responsible for the Logan neighborhood, along with National City, having the highest rates of asthma in California.
Precisely, the Barrio Logan, majority Latino, is in the 5% of the most polluted areas of California, according to the Environmental Health Coalition. Its residents are 85 to 95% more likely to develop cancer than in the rest of the country. A transport truck with alternative energy would be good for health and the economy.
One path to achieving that goal is AB126. The measure will authorize approximately $170 million annually over the next decade in support of California’s Clean Transportation Program.
This is an increase in the payment of fees that, in particular, will finance incentives for zero-emission vehicles, electric vehicle chargers and hydrogen filling stations through the Air Quality Improvement Program, the Clean Transportation Program and the Enhanced Fleet Modernization Program.
The common denominator of these programs is to promote clean air and healthy communities, while helping more families and small businesses get within reach of clean vehicles.
These programs also help retire older, more polluting cars, provide support for the purchase of zero-emission trucks, and the necessary infrastructure – such as chargers – to support the transition.
The strength of AB 126 is to prioritize equity by requiring the California Energy Commission to allocate at least 50% of Clean Transportation Program funding to projects that directly benefit “disadvantaged” communities.
San Diego residents are closely following the future of AB126, with the governor having until Oct. 14 to sign the bill. The measure is critical to continue advancing the goal of cleaning the air for Latino communities harmed by high truck traffic. It is a financing of very important and complementary programs.
Lawmakers did their part in continuing the path to renewable energy with the approval of the projects, now it’s Newsom’s turn to demonstrate how real his commitment to the environment is by giving his approval to the package of environmental laws passed this session.