Sacramento’s Air Quality: A Passing Grade, Alberto Ayala LTE SacBee, May 22, 2022

Post:     Sacramento Bee, Letters to the Editor, May 22, 2022

AQI PASSING GRADE

RE: “Sacramento among California cities with filthiest air in the US, new study says. What to know,” (sacbee.com, April 22)

The American Lung Association’s “State of the Air 2022” report does not specify that extreme but short-term impacts from wildfires cause high readings, resulting in a misleading picture of Sacramento’s air quality. Air quality and public health are absolutely impacted by wildfires, but to assign an “F” grade without naming the reason unnecessarily undermines public confidence and denies true progress tackling air and climate pollution. Thanks to innovative initiatives by the Sac Metro Air District and our regional partners and stringent rules and regulations, air quality in Sacramento (minus wildfires) has improved significantly over the past several decades and will continue to improve. Our region has made great strides in moving toward meeting strict health-based ambient air quality standards. That is no small feat for the public and private sectors and certainly worth a passing grade.

Dr. Alberto Ayala, Sacramento

https://www.sacbee.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/article261627617.html#storylink=cpy

Please take this Survey: Investment Without Displacement

Sacramento Investment Without Displacement (SIWD) is a coalition of social justice organizations and residents who support building healthy communities, affordable housing, preserving cultural traditions, and the stability of neighborhoods.

SIWD is conducting this survey to gather feedback from the community about a proposed City of Sacramento policy.

The proposed policy would require developers to enter into a community benefits agreement (CBA) for new construction if the developer receives money or incentives from the City of Sacramento.

A developer is an individual or company responsible for building homes, offices, retail or commercial centers, arenas, or industrial sites.

A community benefits agreement or CBA is a legally binding document that outlines community benefits (e.g., affordable housing, park improvements, job training programs) a developer must provide to reduce the negative impact of new development on the people who live near the project.

SIWD will use the information collected through this survey when advocating with the City that the proposed CBA policy reflects equity and what the community wants.

At the end of this survey you will have the option to enter into a raffle to win a prize (for example, gift card, t-shirt or hoodie).

Learn About the California Mobility Center Dec 9

Please join ECOS’ Transportation, Air Quality & Climate Change (TAQCC) Committee for its regular monthly meeting, on Thursday, December 9th. Details about joining this meeting using “Zoom” are provided below.

Our featured speaker will be Mark Rawson, Chief Operating Officer of the California Mobility Center, which was officially launched in March 2021. CMC is a nonprofit, public-private business acceleration hub that aspires to become a leading global innovation and commercialization center and to set the pace in electric mobility. Its headquarters will be located at The Hub: Sacramento State Research Park, located southeast of Sac State on the other side of Highway 50, and its Board includes representatives from Sac State, SMUD, Microsoft, UC Davis, and other prominent organizations.

The balance of the meeting will be devoted to updates on other active issues: the proposed citizens intiiatve to put a Sacramento County transportation tax on the November 2022 ballot, Sacramento County and City Climate Action Plans, Sacramento City Transportation Priorities Plan, the proposed expansion of the CapCity bridge over the American River, and other topics you may raise.

Note: This is the final meeting of TAQCC as presently constituted, since it will be folded into a new Climate Change Committee in the restructuring of ECOS committees. The initial meeting of the Climate Change Comittee will be the first Thursday in January, the same time and date previously scheduled for TAQCC.

When: Thursday, December 9th, 2021 at 6 pm
Where: Videoconference, hosted by Zoom
Link to join TAQCC Meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85805612058
To phone in: 1-669 900 6833, Meeting ID: 858 0561 2058

Hospital Construction near Stone Lakes Refuge Stopped

By Nancy Hughett, ECOS Board Member | July 2021

A coalition of environmental and community groups applying pressure on Elk Grove decision-makers was instrumental in stopping the construction of a 13-story hospital with helipad next to a sensitive habitat area. While California Northstate University (CNU) previously proposed building the hospital at the edge of the Stone Lakes National Refuge, it recently announced its relocation to the Sleep Train Arena in North Natomas (June 16, 2021).

The coalition, including ECOS’ Habitat 2020, the Audubon Society, Sierra Club and the Friends of Stone Lakes, met with Elk Grove Planning Commissioners. Coalition members expressed concerns about noise, light pollution and construction activity that would harm refuge wildlife such as Swainson’s Hawks, Sandhill Cranes and Burrowing Owls, particularly during roosting periods. In addition, helicopter flights and the massive hospital building itself would pose a danger for bird strikes; helicopter-bird strikes could also lead to loss of human life. The Stone Lakes Refuge sits within the Pacific Flyway, a major North American migration route for birds.

The environmental coalition, along with neighbors, also argued that placing a level 2 trauma center hospital in a 200-year flood plain despite existing city prohibitions would be a very bad idea. (Additionally, flooding could increase due to climate-induced sea level rise and possible atmospheric river events.) This issue proved to be a major factor in Elk Grove Planning Commissioners’ 5-0 recommendation to deny the project. The project’s proponents subsequently elected to seek other sites for their hospital.

An incidental wetlands and habitat area has developed at the Sleep Train Arena site in the excavated area for a failed baseball stadium; the pond is surrounded by mature trees and has become a resource for wildlife, including many bird species. ECOS’ Habitat 2020 Committee is drafting a letter to support its protection.