Air District continues to enhance wildfire preparedness efforts and strengthen the program
through new projects that improve indoor air, health and equity for those most vulnerable to
wildfire smoke. In 2021, a partnership was formed with the Regional Asthma Management and
Prevention (RAMP) to help distribute home air filtration units to those who are enrolled in
the California Asthma Mitigation Project, a state program that provides in-home asthma
assessments and care for those who are low-income and diagnosed with poorly controlled
asthma. Partnerships with the American Red Cross and county Offices of Emergency Services
were also created to help support wildfire emergency response efforts by providing portable
air filtration units to evacuation and sheltering facilities and publicly accessible
A new grant program with an additional funding of $3M from the state will be available through Assembly Bill 836, Wildfire Smoke Clean Air Centers for Vulnerable Populations Incentive Pilot Program, initiated by Assembly Member Buffy Wicks and the Air District in 2019 to better prepare the region for wildfire smoke. The grant program will allow counties to apply for funding to conduct air filtration and ventilation retrofits and purchase air filtration units and replacement air filters with the goal of establishing a network of Cleaner Air Centers in the Bay Area. The Air District continues to seek long-term solutions to prepare for catastrophic wildfires and smoke impacts and build resiliency across the region with our partners.
new partnerships were created
support wildfire emergency response
will be made available to
establish a Cleaner Air Center
network in the Bay Area
In March 2021, the Air District’s Board of Directors announced the establishment of a community Steering Committee to help guide the development of the Community Emission Reduction Plan for the Richmond-North Richmond-San Pablo area. This Steering Committee is made up of people who live, work and serve communities in the plan area and represent the diversity of the community. The committee, led by Co-Chairs Y’Anad Burrell and Alfredo Angulo Castro, will be instrumental in helping the Air District reduce pollution exposure and address health disparities in an area that has historically experienced a disproportionately high exposure. Air monitoring has been conducted throughout 2021, as part of the 2020 Community Air Monitoring Plan. Insights from these monitoring projects, including a mobile air toxics study conducted by the Air District, are used to support the development of emissions reduction strategies.
The Air District and the co-lead partner, West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project, worked together to continue implementation of the West Oakland Community Action Plan. Through partnerships with community and agencies, the Steering Committee focused on securing funding for a healthy homes initiative, urban greening, access to free transit, reducing diesel pollution from port and freight operations, and creating health-protective policy changes to the City of Oakland’s planning code. The Sustainable Port Collaborative formed to further support zero-emission goals at the Port of Oakland. WOEIP is also overseeing the development of an ad hoc Health Equity Advisory Committee of the Steering Committee to evaluate the plan implementation progress.
The Air District hosted a virtual community meeting in June on shaping the future of our air monitoring efforts in Benicia — a refinery fenceline community. The Air District, with help from the City of Benicia, identified potential locations in Benicia for a new air monitoring station, and community members and stakeholders had the opportunity to inform final site selection.
In a groundbreaking move, on Nov. 17, 2021, the Board of Directors approved the formation of the Air District’s inaugural Community Advisory Council, consisting of 17 community members from across the Bay Area, including two seats reserved for youth. The Board created the CAC in response to community input and in furtherance of an equity-forward policy agenda. The CAC, which is a Brown Act advisory council of the Board, will choose its own areas of focus, and provide input on key Air District policies and programs. The councilmembers not only reflect the diversity of the Bay Area and the lived experiences in communities heavily impacted by air pollution, but are also individuals with diverse skill sets and a range of relevant knowledge and technical experience. The CAC held their first meeting in January 2022.
The Air District Board of Directors approved the formation of the Community Equity, Health and Justice Committee to address environmental justice and inequities in health outcomes and economic opportunities in Bay Area communities disproportionately impacted by air pollution. The committee will prioritize traditionally marginalized and disinvested communities in Air District policies and programs.
The Air District continues to implement the Bay Air Center pilot program, a technical assistance and resource hub that supports community members and organizations across the Bay Area who are interested in understanding and improving air quality. The Bay Air Center is particularly focused on providing support to communities that have historically been heavily impacted by air pollution.
reductions from refineries is a top priority for the Air District
RV trailers received air filtration units and replacement filters
In 2020, the City of San Francisco established a transitional housing site in the Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood to better protect public health during the COVID pandemic. The 123 RV trailers that house residents at the site are situated near several different sources of air pollution, including concrete and materials recycling and handling facilities. To help address particulate matter exposure of shelter residents, the Air District delivered air filtration units and replacement filters to the United Council for Human Services to distribute to all Pier 94 transitional housing site residents.
In response to concerns from the public regarding ongoing permitting activities in overburdened communities — as well as information that demonstrates variation in air quality and health vulnerability at the community level — the Air District Board of Directors adopted amendments to the permitting rules to prioritize environmental justice considerations and further promote the protection of public health and the environment.
The Air District Board of Directors adopted amendments to Rule 6-5: Particulate Emissions from Refinery Fluidized Catalytic Cracking Units. Fluidized catalytic cracking units are some of the largest individual sources of particulate matter emissions in the San Francisco Bay Area. Reductions of particulate matter are needed to ensure progress towards attainment of all state and national air quality standards and to achieve cleaner air and improved public health outcomes in the region.
In 2021, the Air District took the lead on several fronts to assess, report, and regulate fine particulate matter (PM2.5). In a cross-agency collaboration, the Air District conducted rulemaking to reduce PM2.5 from fluidized catalytic cracking units (FCCU) at Bay Area petroleum refineries. To support this amended regulation, we developed targeted emissions estimates, a modeling-based evaluation of air pollution levels, and a novel equity analysis by race and ethnicity showing who is most exposed to air pollution.
To support future rulemaking efforts, we developed improved estimates of particulate matter emissions from residential wood burning, nitrogen oxide emissions from natural gas combustion, and ammonia emissions from a variety of sources. Collaborating with the US EPA and CalEPA, the Air District worked to develop and apply improved methods to assess health impacts from PM2.5. The Air District also developed improved emissions reporting methods for large industrial facilities in relation to the Criteria Pollutants and Toxics Emissions Reporting statewide regulation.
Contribution of FCCUs and Other Refinery Sources
Hispanic / Latino
Asian / Pacific Islander
African American / Black
Exposure per capita (ug/m3)
Exposure per capita (ug/m3)
Modeled estimates of per capita exposure to PM2.5 (residential impact in µg/m3) from two Bay Area refineries within a defined study area. Bar lengths correspond to impacts from all modeled sources at the refineries. The darker portions of the bars correspond to the share of those impacts that are specifically attributed to FCCU emissions.