Category Archives: Air Quality

This replicable model for urban air quality management is a breath of fresh air

The future of clean air is collaborative 


Comprehensive urban air quality management sometimes feels like pipe dream, but what if we’re closer than we give ourselves credit for?  What if stakeholders – from communities, regulators, and analysts to tech and industry ‘partners’ – have already deployed a collaborative model for accurate air quality management that could deliver “democratized, hyperlocal air quality data” and ultimately help us improve the air we breathe?

Clarity, a climate-tech startup founded by a Berkeley grad, is marketing a new vision  for air quality monitoring. Using both existing and supplemental air monitor networks to provide all those stakeholders listed above with “real-time air quality data at a higher resolution,” its goal is to “[make] air quality management more accessible, cost-effective, and actionable than ever before.”

The fascinating mini-documentary above shows how London deployed over 400 “Clarity Node-S sensors” to provide “hyperlocal insights” to their population of 8.8 million. Apparently, Clarity is active in 60 cities worldwide, including Los Angeles, Perth and Singapore.

And, get this – in August 2022, the Los Angeles Unified School District installed these sensors at 200 school locations across their 710 square-mile footprint, “providing students, parents, teachers and the community with important real-time data about their local air quality.”

It’s a beautiful, well-marketed vision, and hopefully a peek into a future where communities like ours can access – and act on! – real-time insights on air quality  . . .  instead of relying on a plodding, recalcitrant, polluting industry to provide that data in a clear, reasonable and timely way.

Check out the video, it came recommended by a trusted resource. To be clear, we have received no compensation for posting about this, nor did we coordinate with Clarity in any way. This is just cool news worth sharing.


Police oversight, clean energy & clean air in 3 clicks

Signing the petition, making the call or writing the email has never been and will never be pointless

By Nathalie Christian, May 8, 2023

Sometimes signing petitions and writing emails or calls like those suggested below can feel . . . pointless at best, and performative at worst.  But these actions – even as insignificant as they may feel – are neither.

Research, experience and most importantly results prove time and again that policymakers absolutely consider petitions, phone calls, emails and yet more petitions when making decisions. While your pebble may feel small, adding it to a pile and encouraging others in your networks to add their pebbles as well are the first steps in triggering a landslide.

In full disclosure, you may need a few more than three clicks to complete the three proposed actions laid out here today, but you can still make a big difference in the time it takes for your tea or coffee to brew. And the minutes you take today can influence years of decision-making and legislation, and ultimately the lifetimes of many.

[Note: I am ordering these by urgency, not importance. For example, while the EPA is accepting public comment on proposed regulations through July 5, there are important hearings May 9, 10 and 11 that you may want to know about.]

1. Call or Email: Tell your Assembly Members to OPPOSE Assembly Bill 538, which threatens California’s clean energy goals and autonomy

A picture of a power pole.
Major environmental organizations including 350 Bay Area Action, the Sierra Club and Indivisible advise that AB 538 could prevent California from meeting essential clean energy goals. | Uncredited image from 350 Bay Area Action.

Anyone can participate in this important action, but if you’re living Bay Area Assembly Districts 11 (Lori Wilson), 21 (Diane Papan) and 28 (Gail Pellerin), your voice is especially needed. (Find out which district you live in here. If you live in Solano County, Lori Wilson is your assembly representative.)

These three members of the Assembly Appropriations Committee are voting on a grid-related bill that 350 Bay Area Action, the Sierra Club and Indivisible will lump California in with a multistate regional transmission organization, potentially throwing a pretty big wrench in CA’s efforts to meet its clean energy goals. The phone numbers, email addresses and script below provide a quick way you can help oppose this bill.

If you’re a constituent of AD 11, 21 or 28:  Please use the following message for calling or emailing . . .

Suggested message: 

I am your constituent and a member of 350 Bay Area Action, a 20,000-member strong climate justice organization.  After long consideration, we have taken an OPPOSE position on AB 538.

AB 538 creates a new multi-Western state electricity market that would threaten California’s clean energy goals and autonomy without significantly improving access to regional energy markets.  Proposed amendments cannot fix this bill.

    • If the bill is on the Consent Calendar, please request that it be it taken off.
    • Once it’s off Consent, please don’t vote for it. Either vote against it, or don’t vote.

Thank you for your consideration!

Sincerely yours,

[Name / City]

Non-constituents:  Use the above message and simply start by saying you’re a member of 350 Bay Area Action.

2. Petition or public comment: Support the most ambitious vehicle emissions regulations ever proposed.

EPA logo

The EPA has just proposed what the Climate Reality Project is calling “the strongest regulations on vehicle emissions ever.” Despite improved regulations for heavy-duty vehicles, light- and medium-duty vehicles (like passenger cars and delivery trucks) still produce a tremendous amount of toxic tailpipe pollutants. According to Climate Reality, the regulations the EPA proposed could prevent nearly 10 billion tons of CO2 emissions through 2055.

Naturally, the proposed regulations are under attack by the usual suspects. While the EPA is still taking public comments, they need to hear from us. It’s up to average citizens like you and me to balance the histrionics from the conservatives and corporations who desperately want to keep fossil fuels-guzzling cars on the road.

Here are three ways you can support this ambitious new set of regulations:

3. Petition: Boost Vallejo residents demanding independent police oversight

Police officers stand in a loose formation, holding firearms. In the center of the formation is a man in a red shirt with a badge but no firearm.
The Vallejo Police Department continues to resist reform despite historic levels of community distrust. This behavior is ultimately abetted by scant acknowledgment and nearly no action made by Vallejo leaders on behalf of their constituents, who are demanding change, transparency and accountability in this petition. | Uncredited image from petition.
Members of the Solano County ACLU Chapter started this petition to demand independent, external oversight over the very troubled Vallejo Police Department. The case the petition makes is clear, compelling and actionable. Anyone can sign (even if you don’t live in Vallejo), so please take a quick minute to do so and then to share it with your networks. 

From the petition: “Vallejo Police Department (VPD) is the most troubled police department in northern California. This is clear to residents of Vallejo, potential VPD applicants, local and national media, and police professionals in the Bay Area. But this has never been directly acknowledged by our leaders, nor has there been a substantive attempt to make amends to the families who have lost loved ones, to those who have been subjected to police abuse, or to the community. Past attempts at reform have been completely ineffective.”

Read more and sign the petition at . . . 


[P. S. I am sorry for shoving three important actions in a single post, possibly reducing the chances that you will complete any of them. The Benicia Independent has a backlog of articles and posts I want to publish and, in the interest of time and space, I am compromising. I encourage you to share these actions with your networks and really highlight the need and the urgency to ensure we have the best chance of being heard on these important topics. –N.C.]

Read more! While we’re talking about Air Quality,  check out these resources:

Benicia Herald: ‘Refineries failing at fenceline monitoring’

[Editor: The Benicia Herald  does not have an online edition – their lead story in today’s print edition is presented here as a photographic image (click to enlarge). To support our local newspaper, please subscribe by email at or by phone at 707-745-6838.]

After this quick read, PLEASE SEND YOUR COMMENTS on Valero’s Air Monitoring Plans and Quality Assurance Project Plans to the Bay Area Air District.  They are accepting comments on the refineries’ plans through Thursday, April 20 at 5 p.m. Details on the BenIndy here. Comments should be sent to

Read more! As Air Quality is so essential to our health, you might want to check out these resources:

BCAMP ACTION ALERT: Tell Our Air District That Valero Is Failing

This is a news release from Benicia Community Air Monitoring Program (BCAMP), issued April 12, 2023. Please take a few minutes to follow the instructions below to submit an emailed comment in support of this important request. 

We need the public to push the Air District to enforce its fenceline regulations. Valero is failing.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) is requesting public input by Thursday, April 20 on the Air Monitoring Plans (AMPs) and Quality Assurance Project Plans (QAPPs) from the five Bay Area refineries. The public input relates to the measurement of the dangerous gas-hydrogen sulfide (H2S) by the refineries’ open path fenceline monitoring systems.

The bottom line is this: since the law went into effect in January, four out of the five Bay Area refineries are not meeting BAAQMD’s requirements for detecting and reporting the level of hydrogen sulfide at the refinery fencelines. One of the refineries, Martinez Refining Company, is meeting the requirements, so we know that the technology to provide the important data to the public is readily available.

We need to make sure that all five Bay Area Refineries, including Valero, are held accountable!

This is not just about the refineries following rules set by the Air District, it’s about public health. We need to know what is in the air we breathe! Your comments to the district make a tremendous difference. The Air Board  does pay attention to the comments and the public sentiment.  So please take a couple of minutes to send this email or one like it.

How to comment

IMPORTANT: the deadline for comments is Thursday, April 20 at 5pm. Don’t delay! Please act now. 

Please send your comment to Joe Lapka at

Please put in the subject line: “Comment on Revised Draft Refinery Fenceline Air Monitoring Plans for Valero, Phillips 66, Tesoro and Chevron.”

You can simply copy and paste the following as your comment, or write your own:

The revised refinery air monitoring plans show that four out of five refineries are not meeting BAAQMD’s requirements. It is apparent that only the open path system being utilized at the Martinez Refining Company meets the requirements listed in the Air District’s 12/22/2022 letter, as defined by the requirements in their Quality Assurance Project  Plan (QAPP). The systems being used at the other four refineries does not meet these requirements. All refineries should utilize equipment that meets the Air District requirements as stated in the 12/22/2022 letters.  All requirements across all Bay Area refineries should be as uniform as possible in operation and data display to allow communities to compare measurements and performance across refineries.  This isn’t just about following the rules, it’s about public health and safety!  We deserve to know what we are breathing.

In addition, we request that all technologies used at all Bay Area refineries have similar operational and data display parameters developed and required soon. We truly feel this will help re-establish community trust in the data generated by the technologies in use as part of Rule 12-15.

It is vital that the refineries be held accountable—not just by paying fines—but by installing the equipment that will meet the Air District’s requirements without delay.

There should also be a public meeting about this important topic.

Thank you for taking a stand with us!

Read more! As Air Quality is so essential to our health, you might want to check out these resources: