Valley Public Radio - Live Audio

California's Cap and Trade System Could Help Ease Central Valley Pollution

Aug 28, 2014

California’s cap and trade program could help clean up pollution in the Central Valley. FM89’s Diana Aguilera explains the early stages of the effort.

The Central Valley could benefit from these funds since many counties ranked among the worst in the CalEnviroScreen 2.0 report.
Credit The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment

A few months ago the state came out with a report ranking the most polluted places in California. Many Fresno County neighborhoods ranked among the worst.  

Now the California Environmental Protection Agency is hoping to use that data to clean up these areas through the state’s cap and trade system.

"Clearly areas like Fresno and other communities throughout the Central Valley will benefit from this because they will probably fall under the threshold of disadvantaged communities."

That’s Stanley Young with the California Air Resources Board.

He says this is part of an effort that will eventually award grants to environmental projects using money already collected from the cap and trade program.

Under this program, there’s a limit on how much a company can pollute. If a company exceeds its quota of pollution it can buy credits from another company that hasn’t reached its limit.

State law requires that at least 25 percent of cap and trade funds benefit low-income communities most affected  by  environmental hazards and at least 10 percent be invested in projects directly within these communities. 

In September, the CalEPA will announce how many communities will benefit from this effort using the state’s report. The Air Resources Board has plans of finalizing the guidelines in a few weeks in order to distribute the funds.