Air Quality Efforts Pay Off for Sacramento Region

News release
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Christine Ault
2017 Sacramento Region Air Quality Progress Report; 2017 State of the Air Report (American Lung Association)

Air quality efforts pay off for Sacramento Region

Region’s air quality has improved, but more work remains to be done

SACRAMENTO, CA —In its account of the nation’s air quality, the American Lung Association (ALA) released a State of the Air 2017 report today that grades U.S. counties on harmful ozone and particle pollution recorded over a three-year period, and details trends for metropolitan areas over the past decade.

While the Sacramento region has shown notable progress due to regulatory action, collaborative strategies and cross-sector alliances – efforts organized locally by the Cleaner Air Partnership – California cities continue to dominate the list of the nation’s most polluted regions.

A Sacramento Region Air Quality Progress Report released today cites that despite a 50 percent increase in population since 1990, the Sacramento region has cut nitrogen oxides – a precursor of ozone – by 66 percent.

“We are extremely proud of the work we have done to improve air quality over the past two decades, but we have much more work to do to protect the health of citizen’s in our communities,” said Valley Vision’s chief executive Bill Mueller.

ALA’s report cited significant progress in the fight against ozone (also known as smog) in eight California cities: Los Angeles, Bakersfield, Visalia, Modesto-Merced, Sacramento, El Centro, San Jose-San Francisco and San Luis Obispo. Sacramento’s ranking of People at Risk In 25 Most Ozone-Polluted Cities moves down to 8th place in the 2017 report, from 6th position when last tabulated. (2016 State of the Air Report)

“It’s good news for our region that’s been working hard on multiple air pollution fighting strategies,” said Mueller. “but the region has a long way to go when it comes to reaching the clean air goals that our residents need and deserve.”

Valley Vision has worked on clean economy strategies for decades including as the project manager of the Cleaner Air Partnership (CAP), an alliance in place since 1986 with partners Breathe California and the Sacramento Metro Chamber. CAP focuses on incentive-based solutions such as converting from older, more polluting diesel engines to cleaner engines and fuels, wood stove and fire place replacements for clean-burning devices, and land use strategies to reduce miles traveled, increased public transit investments, and increased use of electric vehicles.

“Nearly 80 percent of our pollution problem comes from vehicles,” Mueller noted. “Every bit of progress we make is worth recognizing, but our region must continue to strive to be a state leader in reducing vehicular travel and increasing public transit.”


Valley Vision’s mission is to empower communities with the resources and intelligence they need to improve people's lives.  We conduct extensive research to identify and forecast issues that impact our economy, environment, and social equity. We then bring together the experts and leaders from across geographies and sectors to design and implement solutions.


The Cleaner Air Partnership is a joint initiative of the Sacramento Metro Chamber, Breathe-California of Sacramento-Emigrant Trails, and Valley Vision. For 30 years, the Partnership has served as a unique collaboration between business, health, and environmental groups — groups that can be at odds with each other in other locales, but have been working together here with outstanding results.