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* Cleaner Air Partnership

The Cleaner Air Partnership (CAP) is a unique collaboration between Breathe California of Sacramento-Emigrant Trails, the Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Valley Vision. The three organizations teamed up to improve the Sacramento region’s air quality with a geographic focus on the large air basin that we share, including all of Sacramento and Yolo counties, and portions of El Dorado, Placer, Sutter, Solano and Yuba counties. Because pollution from cars, trucks and mobile sources makes up 70 percent of the air problem, much of the region's air quality challenges are in our control. That's why CAP’s efforts generally center on programs that help minimize smog-forming emissions from vehicular sources. CAP favors an approach that features incentives to reward cooperation, innovation and proactive efforts.

What is the goal?

The goal is to improve air quality in the Sacramento region in a way that supports better health and promotes economic growth.

Why is this important?

Due to our geography and other factors, the Sacramento region is ranked as having some of the worst air quality in the nation. As a result, the rates of asthma and other damaging health impacts are high. Failing to meet our “budget” for smog and soot set by the federal and state government also carries big economic consequences, including the risk of losing hundreds of millions in federal transportation funding and additional fees on businesses.

What is Valley Vision doing about it?

Valley Vision has been managing the Cleaner Air Partnership for more than a decade, which brings together the business and public health communities to find solutions they can jointly support. Our work involves technical research, public education, building cooperation, advocating for supportive policies, and encouraging smart growth. 

What is our desired impact?

To identify and agree on new ways to reduce pollution that considers long-term population growth projections, and achieve widespread, local implementation of air-friendly, smart-growth activities that improve the region's air quality. 

How does this effort affect triple-bottom-line objectives?

Economy: Clean air is a component of a healthy economy. Exceeding air quality standards puts businesses at risk of increased fees or new regulations. Clean air makes our communities desirable places to live, work and play. Accelerating adoption of clean technologies reduces air pollution and helps grow the clean energy economy. 

Environment: Clean air is a reflection of environmental health. Many actions taken by CAP to improve air quality support California’s climate goals.

Equity: Improving air quality has a positive impact on public health. Social equity is enhanced with cleaner air. Disadvantaged communities are disproportionately exposed to pollutants that negatively impact health.

When?

Valley Vision has served as project manager for the Cleaner Air Partnership since 2005 and continues to serve in this capacity today.

  • Air quality attainment is a long-view effort. Great improvements have been made over the past 25 years in reducing air pollution because we have worked together. Doing nothing would have been catastrophic for the region’s air quality. Rather than emissions increase due to a 50% population  growth, NOX emissions have reduced by 66% since 1990! The Sacramento region is on target for meeting the 2008 national ambient air quality standards. 
  • Cleaner Air Partnership plans and conducts regular briefing meetings with the Sacramento Air District representative on the California Air Resources Board. Included in these briefings are the region’s five air pollution control officers and other experts to provide technical and policy information and feedback.
  • In 2012 the partners mobilized business, political and community leaders to successfully make the case to add a Sacramento regional representative to the California Air Resources Board for the first time in the agency’s history. This agency sets the rules for the biggest pollution sources in the Sacramento region.
  • The Cleaner Air Partnership regularly convenes meetings that develop relationships among the partner organizations and offer a forum to discuss policy and practices that best help the region meet its air quality goals in a manner that benefits public health and supports economic growth.
  • The partnership created the political will to pass laws that prevent wood-burning in Sacramento County on days that air quality is already unhealthy. Bad winter pollution has dropped dramatically and the region is now meeting federal air standards. Programs to offset the costs of cleaner burning fireplaces and wood stoves have also been approved.
  • Every year the Cleaner Air Partnership staffs a diverse advocacy team to meet with federal lawmakers in Washington D.C. to educate them on air quality challenges in the region along with suggestions for cost-effective solutions. One result: attracting more dollars to assist businesses to change-out dirty engines for cleaner ones.
  • The Cleaner Air Partnership helped institute Bay Area Smog Check II, a program that reduces the amount of auto pollution that drifts up the valley to the Sacramento region.
  • Breathe California of Sacramento-Emigrant Trails
  • Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce
  • Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District
  • Union Pacific
  • Sacramento Association of REALTORS®