SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – On March 18th the Community Environmental Council (CEC) announced it is the proud recipient of a competitive grant for $300,000 to monitor and share findings on air pollution, wildfire smoke, and pesticide exposure at the neighborhood level throughout Guadalupe and the Santa Maria Valley.
“Everyone deserves to be air aware,” said Mireya Piña, Parent Engagement Coordinator for Family Service Agency at Little House by the Park in Guadalupe. “There are a lot of health-related concerns like asthma and stroke due to fire, smoke, and diesel exhaust in our air. At the end of the day, we’re talking about air equity. When we look at that lack of equity in Santa Barbara County, some people can stay protected and informed. But, at the same time, other groups in the community can’t afford that luxury and rely on organizations to stay informed of things like air pollution.”
The grant was awarded by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to implement Assembly Bill 617 which requires the state to support on-the-ground efforts to reduce exposure to pollution and address its underlying causes. CEC was chosen because of its emerging role within the community as a resource for elevating the priorities and voices of residents who have been disproportionately burdened by climate change and pollution impacts. CEC’s Guadalupe Community Air Monitoring Project is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment – particularly in disadvantaged communities.
“The Community Air Grants provided by CARB are an important tool to help residents and Tribal communities throughout the state identify and combat the harmful effects of local air pollution — and create a cleaner environment for their families,” said California Air Resources Board Chair Liane Randolph.
CEC will use the funds to support community-scale air quality monitoring, bilingual education, and community engagement in Guadalupe and adjoining areas of the Santa Maria Valley. The project was planned using information shared by farmworkers and other community members in the project area. The overall goal is to create a greater sense of awareness of local air quality and the impacts of potential pollution, ultimately reducing the community’s exposure to air pollution, wildfire smoke, and pesticides.