Clean Air Projects Program Takes Flight

Mammoth Lakes, CA – At its most recent meeting held earlier this month in Mammoth Lakes, the Governing Board of the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District approved three agenda items that effectively began the District’s new “Clean Air Projects Program.”

The first item was the service contract for administrating the program – known as “CAPP” – throughout the District which encompasses Inyo, Mono and Alpine counties. Following a considered selection and review process culminating in Board approval, the CAPP Administrator contract was awarded to Mono County resident Lisa Isaacs. Ms. Isaacs has extensive experience and education in the field, including years of local environmental program management and community involvement.

CAPP was recently organized by the District with a budget of $5.6 million from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. The payment was made to offset excess air emissions from the Owens Lake bed caused by LADWP’s water diversions. The entire amount is earmarked to fund local clean air projects that directly reduce harmful air emissions from identifiable sources. Although funding will be available for projects throughout the District’s three counties, preference will be given to projects in southern Owens Valley as this area experiences the worst air quality impacts associated with LADWP’s Owens Lake water diversion activities. Local efforts that indirectly lead to air pollution reduction, like education, are also encouraged. All funded projects must be completed by the end of 2013.

According to Ted Schade, District 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 important reasons people are attracted to our area.”

In addition to approving the CAPP Administrator’s contract, the District Governing Board also directed initial CAPP funding toward two immediate undertakings. Inyo County will receive up to $125,000 to offset material costs for paving the very dusty Keeler Transfer Station Access Road linking the community to its local trash disposal station. According to the District, Keeler residents living along the eastern shore of the dry Owens Lake have for many years suffered more than anyone else in the District from harmful air pollution blowing off the dry lake bed.

The Board also approved $500,000 for the Inyo Mono Advocates for Community Action (IMACA) to fund a pilot residential heating and energy efficiency program in southern Owens Valley. Old, non-compliant wood stoves and other inefficient, polluting or “dirty” heating systems will be replaced with EPA-certified stoves (wood and pellet) and other clean heating systems. Home weatherization services will also be provided by trained staff during the upgrade process. IMACA estimates that through this pilot project, they will replace about 100 inefficient, dirty home heating systems in southern Owens Valley with cleaner, compliant systems, as well as reduce an estimated 178 tons of harmful air pollution over 30 years. If the pilot project is successful with funds and oversight from CAPP, IMACA plans to extend these services to all of Inyo, Mono and Alpine Counties.

The request for CAPP project proposals (RFP) will be released before the end of the year. Proposals will be due in early 2012. As many feasible projects as possible will be funded through an open eligibility and selection process. Partnerships and matching funds are encouraged for potential projects, as well as program sponsors. According to CAPP Administrator Lisa Isaacs, “the intent is to spread CAPP’s budget and positive results as far as possible across the District for the benefit of everyone and everything.”

Individuals and organizations interested in CAPP opportunities are encouraged to contact Ms. Isaacs at 760.914.0388 or email capp@gbuapcd.org.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *