November 22, 2006
SACRAMENTO -- The California Air Resources Board (ARB) today announced the results of its audit of the South Coast Air Quality Management District's (district) Carl Moyer Program, a grant-funded effort to reduce emissions through the replacement or retrofit of dirty diesel engines.
"The ARB recognizes the importance of achieving emission reductions in California's most severely impacted region and is committed to collaborate with the district to ensure that every effort is done to significantly curtail air pollution and to protect public health," said Dr. Robert Sawyer, ARB Chairman.
The district is the most populous in California covering portions of Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino Counties and the entire Orange County. Since the Moyer program began in 1997, the South Coast district has been awarded more than $108 million in Carl Moyer Program funds to cover diesel engine upgrade projects for heavy duty trucks, construction equipment, forklifts, marine vessels, irrigation pumps and locomotives. The district has leveraged the state dollars with over $37 million in district funds.
The audit found that the district had a number of commendable achievements, but was slow to begin new clean air projects. The audit focused primarily on the district's allocation of funds in the 2002/2003 and 2003/2004 fiscal years during which time ARB auditors determined that the district did not spend about $10 million in Moyer funds. The ARB is currently working with the district to implement several new procedures to accelerate expenditures and will not allocate new funds until the district has expended already advanced funds on eligible projects.
Consequently, the district did not achieve two-thirds of the anticipated emission reductions for their jurisdiction, which translates into over 300 tons per year of smog-forming oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and approximately 15 tons per year of diesel particulate matter (PM). Additional findings of the audit encompassed miscalculations of cost-effectiveness and missing contract language requirements. The district has already taken steps to mitigate or correct them. The district will immediately address the delays in order to obtain the anticipated emission reductions at the earliest and most practical date.
The audit also confirmed several exemplary practices such as the disbursement of funds among the widest diversity of projects in California and one of the most extensive outreach programs in the State. Every year, the district exceeds the Environmental Justice program legislative requirement by spending an annual average of 60-75% of Carl Moyer funds in areas significantly impacted by air pollution and populated by low income residents or communities of color or both (the minimum required is at least 50% of the funding).
The ARB anticipates that the district's Carl Moyer funding for years one to seven will pay for 3,000 cleaner engines, which will reduce NOx emissions by over 2,800 tons and PM by over 100 tons annually. During the summer of 2007, the ARB will conduct a follow-up audit of the district to verify that the funds have been spent and to confirm that a newly revamped process is working as planned. Until that time, the ARB requires the district to report on a quarterly basis so spending progress can be carefully evaluated for a full year.
The Air Resources Board is a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency. ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.
The energy challenge facing California is real. Every Californian needs to take immediate action to reduce energy consumption. For a list of simple ways you can reduce demand and cut your energy cost, see our website at http://www.arb.ca.gov.