Enhanced Air Quality Monitoring Competitive Grant is an Investment in the Local Community Through Partnership and Collaboration
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently announced their selections for the American Rescue Plan Enhanced Air Quality Monitoring Competitive Grant. The Port of Hueneme was selected among 131 other projects, in 37 states, to receive a portion of the $53.4 million allocated to conduct air monitoring of pollutants in communities across the country with environmental and health outcome disparities stemming from pollution and the pandemic.
The EPA awarded the Port of Hueneme $500,000 for its “Ventura County Community Air Quality Monitoring Network” project that will expand the Port’s existing monitoring network by installing four air monitoring stations to better understand and communicate air pollution burden from freight and transportation networks in the Oxnard Plain.
“This EPA grant is significant for the Port because it will continue to provide resources needed to
better understand air quality challenges in local neighborhoods,” said Oxnard Harbor District
President, Mary Anne Rooney. “The Port is committed to environmental stewardship and expanding air quality monitoring efforts is an important part of our goals.”
Miguel Rodriguez, the Port’s Community Outreach Manager, said this grant award highlights the importance of air quality monitoring in the community that began in 2019 when the Port purchased and installed an EPA reference grade air quality monitor to address air quality concerns in South Oxnard.
“This grant provides continuation — on a broader scale — for us to continue doing this work through partnership and collaboration with California State University Channel Islands and Citizens for Responsible Oil and Gas among others,” Rodriguez said. “This is an important step toward gathering data and creating meaningful opportunities for engagement for those who are in frontline communities adjacent to industry and who will benefit from the information gathered which will help craft and inform future environmental policy in our region.”
The Port will develop a community-based team to create communication tools that facilitate understanding of the monitored air quality data, including a multilingual website to provide public access to the data with a focus on engaging with underserved communities.
Giles Pettifor, the Port’s Environmental Manager, said the Port has been investing in new technology to reduce air pollution and improve air quality in the community for more than a decade.
“Since 2008, the Port’s emissions from diesel particulate matter have decreased by greater than 80 percent as a result of this technology,” Pettifor said. “The Port is investing tens of millions of dollars installing significant new electrification infrastructure in the next five years that will further reduce these emissions to even lower levels in pursuit of a zero emissions future.”
“This is a win for the Port in terms of continuing our efforts to further improve ambient air quality monitoring in our neighboring communities,” said Kristin Decas, CEO & Port Director. “This funding is crucial to providing real-time, ongoing air quality information as well as providing additional enhanced air quality monitoring stations.”
The air pollution monitoring projects selected by the EPA are made possible by more than $30 million in Inflation Reduction Act funds, which supplemented $20 million from the American Rescue Plan and enabled EPA to support 77 additional projects, more than twice the number of projects initially proposed by community-based nonprofit organizations, state and local governments, and Tribal governments.
According to a news release issued by the EPA, these air monitoring projects include the first EPA grants funded by President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act.
“The air monitoring projects will ensure dozens of overburdened communities have the tools they need to better understand air quality challenges in their neighborhoods and will help protect people from the dangers posed by air pollution,” said EPA Administrator, Michael S. Regan.