Proposals Sought for Local Clean Air Projects

Earlier this week, CAPP released its ‘Notice of Funding Availability and Request for Proposals’ for “clean air projects” throughout Great Basin. Clean air projects are defined as improvements, replacements or programs that directly or indirectly result in air pollution reduction. For consideration, all proposed projects must be located within the Great Basin and be completed by December 31, 2013.

Residents of Inyo County’s southern Owen’s Valley who currently use old wood-burning heating systems may qualify for an existing CAPP-funded program already underway by the Inyo Mono Advocates for Community Action (IMACA). Targeted systems include fireplaces and most wood stoves built before 1990. Eligibility to participate in this “first come, first served” little to no cost program is dependent upon the heating system and residential location, not income. All who qualify are offered the opportunity to upgrade to a new EPA-certified fireplace insert or stove that burns cordwood or pellets, or a propane or kerosene heater. According to IMACA, these modern heating systems are between 60 and 90 percent cleaner – air pollution wise – and much more efficient.

Home weatherization services will also be provided by trained IMACA staff during the upgrade process. IMACA estimates that through this pilot project, they will replace around 100 inefficient, dirty heating systems with cleaner, compliant systems, and reduce an estimated 178 tons of harmful air pollution over 30 years.

As directed by Great Basin’s Governing Board, any additional CAPP-funded projects proposed for southern Owens Valley, referred to as the Owens Valley Planning area or OVPA, will be prioritized for selection. The OVPA is defined by the Owens River Basin, stretching north-south along 395 from Tinemaha Reservoir to Haiwee, and east-west from the crest of the Inyos to the crest of the Sierra. Communities include Independence, Lone Pine, Olancha, Cartago and Keeler, and smaller outlying establishments such as Aberdeen, Alabama Hills and Boulder Creek.

As a means toward mitigating the air emissions associated with delays in implementing dust control measures on a small section of Owens Lake bed, Great Basin and LADWP are jointly supporting CAPP. With funds from LADWP, CAPP was created by Great Basin to provide for the selection, oversight and payment of local air pollution control projects.

Beyond the OVPA, all residents, organizations and entities within Great Basin’s three-county region are also eligible to apply for CAPP-funded projects, including individuals, nonprofits, businesses, government and educational institutions. Residents of Indian reservation lands and tribal governments are also eligible.

For consideration, proposed projects must target federal criteria air pollutants, including particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5), ozone, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and lead. Air pollution reduction efforts already required of LADWP by Great Basin order do not qualify for CAPP funding, as well as any other compliance-driven projects currently in violation of federal air quality standards.

Voluntary projects can be local, direct and immediate, such as upgrading or replacing an old wood stove or dirty combustion engine, which immediately reduces the amount of air pollution directly discharged from an identified source within the air district. Or the proposed project may be regional and ongoing, such as expanding public transportation to reduce single occupancy vehicles and associated emissions. Projects may also indirectly reduce air emissions, such as community trails that encourage people to walk or ride bicycles instead of driving, or a local educational program that leads to knowledge and behavior preventing future emissions. Direct emissions reductions are much easier to quantify than indirect reductions, however and projects that directly reduce local air pollution within populated areas will rank higher than projects that reduce regional or future air pollution. According to Ted Schade, Great Basin’s Air Pollution Control Officer, “the District is very pleased to have funds available for air pollution reduction projects that are voluntary but will have widespread benefit to the air quality of the District. Our clean air is one of the most important reasons people are attracted to our area.”

CAPP project proposals are due February 15. As many feasible projects as possible will be funded through an open eligibility and selection process. Partnerships and matching funds are encouraged, as well as sponsors and community support. Interested applicants with questions and ideas for consideration are encouraged to attend an upcoming CAPP proposal workshop in early January. As explained by CAPP Administrator Lisa Isaacs, “the intent is to spread CAPP funds and positive results as far as possible across the District for the benefit of everyone and everything.”

Residents of the OVPA who are interested in IMACA’s wood stove replacement and weatherization program should immediately contact IMACA by emailing woodstove@imaca.net or telephone Eileen Dougherty, IMACA’s Weatherization Administrator, at 760-873-8557, extension 24. All others interested in CAPP’s ‘Notice of Funding Availability and Request for Proposals’ (RFP) can download a copy at http://capp.gbuapcd.org or contact Lisa Isaacs at 760-914-0388.

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