Aera employees Ed Zacarias and Oscar Hernandez are among the 29 Shafter community members who have spent the last year helping develop a plan to reduce local air emissions under Assembly Bill 617.
The bill requires the California Air Resources Board and local air districts to develop and implement plans and measures to reduce air pollution exposure in disadvantaged communities.
CARB selected the City of Shafter and South Central Fresno as the first two of 10 statewide communities to receive clean-air resources newly available under AB 617. The bill was signed into law in July 2017 as part of a legislative package that extended the state’s greenhouse gas Cap and Trade program.
Zacarias and Hernandez, both instrument repair operators at Aera’s Belridge field, are part of Shafter’s AB 617 Community Steering Committee. Mark Hanson, a reliability specialist at Aera’s Belridge field, serves as an alternate.
The committee has developed a Community Emission Reduction Program (CERP) to advise the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.
The Shafter committee submitted its proposed CERP to the air district’s governing board Sept. 19. The CERP details an investment of $38 million in Shafter in emission-reduction incentives for a variety of community clean-air projects. The plan seeks to reduce over 265 tons of PM2.5, 1,700 tons of NOx and associated air toxics from multiple, non-oilfield sources over project lifetimes.
“I am proud to be part of this committee to help shape the future of the community where I’m raising my kids,” Zacarias said. “The Shafter CERP’s wide-ranging measures were developed through a cooperative, community-driven process. It was important to me to have a voice in the process and show my kids that you really can make a difference where you live.”
“This process has been about people who live in the community caring enough to want cleaner air, and our employees have been a part of that,” added Janea’ Benton, Aera public affairs representative.
The air district board will reconvene Oct. 21 to begin the CERP implementation.