Clean Air Projects Program (CAPP) Administrator Lisa Isaacs officially secured a $5.5 million air pollution management mitigation contract from the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District (GBUAPCD) Governing Board on Monday. The contract will fund both direct projects, such as paved roads and diesel generators, and indirect projects, such as education, to help cut down on air pollution in Mono, Inyo and Alpine counties.
The money comes from the LADWP, explained Isaacs; “Essentially it’s a judgment on air emission issues that they agreed to pay to go toward something like this.”
One hundred and seventy five thousand dollars of the funds have already been approved by the District Board to pay for a stretch of paved road in Keeler, which will cut down on dust pollution. Another $500,000 was awarded to Bishop-based Inyo Mono Advocates for Community Action, and will be used for weatherizing and updating non-compliant and inefficient heating devices, some in low-income housing, such as wood stoves and fireplaces. “This project will get measurable results: we’ll know how many stoves are being replaced, and how much smoke they would be producing,” Isaacs said.
Dust and smoke are two of the primary pollutants in the District, particularly in the southern end of Inyo, which is home to Owens Dry Lake. The dust from that area is a problem because it is PM (particulate matter) 10, which means the fine particles of dust are small enough to get into the lungs. The District also has problems with smoke from frequent forest fires. One solution would be to “turn our local-standing dead trees into fuel and burn them as pellets,” which are less smoke-producing than wood, according to Isaacs.
In Mammoth, the biggest problem is road cinders swept into the air by traffic. “The Air Quality Management Plan for the Town of Mammoth Lakes is from ’91. Updating it would be a great project to fund.” Isaacs also envisioned setting aside funding for expanded street sweeper services to combat the cinder problem.
Isaacs will be releasing a call for projects before the end of the year. Projects need to be finalized by 2013, so she hopes to have proposals in by early 2012. “We’re trying to stretch the $5 million as far as possible with the help of matching funds and partnerships.”
The funding is open to everyone, from individuals to the federal government. For more information, contact Lisa Isaacs at firstname.lastname@example.org.