CA - Historic hearing of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District

June 21: Linda Hutchins-Knowles of Northern California Mothers Out Front attended a historic hearing in San Francisco of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (known by the awkward acronym of BAAQMD).  

After multi-year negotiations with environmental groups, the Air District directors had agreed on May 31st to pass a first-in-the-nation cap on GHG emissions. This cap would effectively block San Francisco Bay Area refineries from processing dirty tar sands oil.  

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The vast majority of the audience wanted stricter emissions standards and showed their support with signs. I’m just to the right of the middle, holding up a Mothers Out Front sign. 

 

However, last-minute changes by staff undermined the agreement and actually would have placed the “cap” quite a bit higher than actual emissions, enough to accommodate an entire new refinery!  More background info here for those who are interested.  

So I and over one hundred other concerned citizens packed the hearing to overflowing to urge the directors to honor the levels set at the May 31st hearing.  After a lengthy meeting during which dozens of groups (including Mothers Out Front) and 48 individuals gave public comment, the Board of Directors voted 13-6 to postpone finalizing the details of the cap until September.    

I was interviewed by CBS-affiliate TV station KPIX in San Francisco and by NBC Bay Area based in San Jose as well as a reporter from KPFA (Pacifica Public Radio).

It was a rewarding but exhausting day.  I left the house at 6:30am to catch the train and didn’t get home until after 5pm.  It was very worthwhile though: I networked with many climate activists before, during and after the hearing and on the train ride home.  Poco a poco se va lejos: little by little we go a long way!  :) 

Onward!
Linda Hutchins-Knowles, San Jose Mother Out Front

 

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I gave a two-minute public comment, representing Mothers Out Front, urging the Directors to make the vulnerability of children and their need for clean air and a healthy climate their top consideration.

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