California Clean Air

The California public has a right to know what is being emitted into the environment from all emission sources and all chemical formulations.

The Green Party of California supports as pristine an environment as is possible, the maximum effort to recycle chemicals, the replacement of toxic compounds with less toxic ones, conservation, and waste minimization. The California public has a right to know what is being emitted into the environment from all emission sources and all chemical formulations.
The major California air pollution sources in 2006 were in order of decreasing emission tonnage: road vehicles; non-road vehicles; businesses and industries; and consumer/household items. For water pollution arising from air pollution, please see the Water platform plank.
The major polluters have traditionally settled their legal cases rather than face formal trial. Such settlements have been as high as $400 million as from Los Angeles Airport in 2004 for air pollution from planes and refueling tankers.
Governor Schwarzenegger and the Democratic Party legislature proposed in 2006 that California utilities generate at least 20% of their electricity requirements from renewable sources by 2010, and 33% by 2020. Furthermore in AB32 (2006), greenhouse emissions are to be reduced 18% by 2012, and 25% by 2020. California can do better than that.
Bio-methane sources in rural areas are another cause for concern. Thus in the San Joaquin valley, bio-methane emissions, primarily from dairy operations, exceed emissions from motor vehicles. Subsidized methane digesters and electric co-generators are used to remedy such emissions ("netmetering"). The healthcare cost of San Joaquin valley air pollution is about $3 billion/year, about $1,000/person/year. Similar bio-methane problems occur in Riverside and San Bernadino counties.
Emissions in California related to global warming have jumped 85% between 1960 and 2001 according to Environment California in 2006. The U.S. emits about half of the world's car-caused greenhouse carbon dioxide emissions, while California emits 10% of the U.S. total. California should be a role model for the United States in minimizing greenhouse gases.
The State of California should:
End the Air Pollution Credit ("Offset") System of the Air Quality Management District (AQMD) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB). The current air pollution credit system allows large corporations to distribute their air pollution over many emission sites. This causes local high air concentration emissions to offset the planned turnarounds or maintenance of their individual industrial plants. Air pollution thresholds should apply to each individual industrial plant to safeguard local communities who live near the emission source. The current air pollution credit system also allows large corporations to purchase air pollution credits from other corporations that are in compliance. Such inter-corporation purchase of credits must also end as it undercuts prevention of environmental pollution. Hybrid systems of "trading emissions" may be supported as interim measures if there are definite upper thresholds for individual emission sources and a plan to lower overall emissions relative to the previous 5 years for high polluters.
Promote the Use of Alternative Sources of Energy Relative to Fossil Fuels. Subsidies, regulations, and tax incentives should be provided for use and development of solar, wind, and other systems of alternative energy sources in California. See also the Energy Plank. Needs assessments, cost/benefit studies, and environmental impact statements need to be developed for every new public power/energy source or facility where alternatives to the planned source or facility are specified, including all proposed off-shore facilities within California territorial limits. The state should promulgate the following goals relative to use of alternative/renewable sources of energy relative to total sources of energy used: 65% by 2035; 40% by 2025; 25% by 2015. Tax incentives should be provided to utilities that achieve these goals.
Promote the Implementation and Development of Sustainable Technologies. Subsidies, regulations, and tax incentives should be provided for development and use of sustainable technologies that feature the maximum in recycling (for example, water and toxic chemicals), the minimum use of toxic chemicals, the minimum in air pollution emission and waste production potential, conservation, the minimum in perturbation of natural ecosystems, source controls, and that feature the highest efficiency technology, all commensurate with the use of best available technology, cost, and practicability. All non-motor vehicle sources of chemicals must have labels and/or material safety data sheets that account for at least 95% of the mass stating the chemical composition of a material, and for each constituent stating what the potentials for air and water pollution are, the potential toxicity, and protective measures.
Promote the Lowering of Emissions from Mobile Sources by Building New Transportation Systems that Are Earthquake Stable and that Feature Transport Systems Not Based on Fossil Fuels. While bus and truck systems are still essential for public transport, subsidies, regulations, and tax incentives are needed to develop and use rail, escalator, and conveyer links involving no transporting vehicles that run fossil fuels. As interim measures, old inefficient diesel trucks need to be upgraded or replaced, and tunnels/underground sites with high fossil-fuel derived pollution need to be progressively replaced. See also the Transportation Plank.
Increase Fuel Efficiency in Mobile Sources that Use Fossil Fuels to Decrease Air Emissions. Licensed automobiles using fossil fuels should achieve greater than 30 miles to the fossil fuel gallon. Cars not achieving this minimum mileage per gallon should not be licensed. The current average recommended federal rate is 27.5 mile/gallon formulated in the 1970s, but it is not enforced. See also the Energy Plank.
Control Greenhouse Gas Emissions Independent of Federal Policy. Global warming needs to be controlled by California to limit emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane into the air in accordance with the Kyoto Treaty. Emissions should be capped for the state's ten worst emitters of the previous five years. See also the Energy Plank.
Continue Toxics Release and Environmental Pollution Inventories. The California public has a right to know what is being released annually into the California environment from industrial, home, and government sources.
Educate Workers and Management in the Principles of Air Pollution Prevention. Corporations and the state should educate workers, staff and management on the major principles of air pollution prevention. Such education would cover the state and federal legal situation, emission controls, air pollution history, the unit processes involved in the creation of pollution and contamination, how to measure pollution, the interpretation of air pollution data, and the role of human factors.
Report on Legal Cases and Legal Settlements on Air Pollution. Part of public education is the knowledge of what legal cases and settlements have occurred to underline the continuing seriousness and incidence of air pollution, as well as the regular reports of state and federal agencies on air pollution data.
Create a California Environmental Ombudsman Office to Settle Legal Cases and Disputes about Environmental Pollution. The establishment of a neutral but skilled body involving university professors, environmental lawyers, and certified environmental professionals to hear disputed environmental cases would help the legal system deliver more informed judgments.
Support California State, County, City, and Local Legislative Measures Designed to Decrease Air Pollution and Increase Emission Source Control, and to Advance the  Development and Use of Alternative Sources of Energy. While the California Chamber of Commerce has stated that limiting emissions in California will shift emissions to foreign countries because of job outsourcing, this specious argument needs to be answered by insisting on support for measures to alleviate California pollution that endangers local communities, especially in the case of start-up of new industrial plants, new mobile sources, and those industrial sources that have bad track records.
Continue Netmetering Payback beyond 2010 to Remedy Bio-Methane Emissions in Rural Areas. The government subsidy ("payback") to promote use of current technology to assure control of bio-methane emissions ("netmetering") in rural areas is ending in 2010. It needs to be extended indefinitely to decrease greenhouse gas emissions from animals.