A local clean air grant program was overrun with project proposals, with 49 different projects worth $16.5 million competing for about $5 million.
“The competition is fierce,” said Lisa Isaacs, the administrator for the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District, which administers the grant project.
“Given the large numbers all the way around, most will not be selected,” she said.
That could spell bad news for local projects waiting for approval, such as adding an extra street sweeper to cut down on the amount of pulverized road cinders in the air in Mammoth, one of the biggest sources of local winter time air pollution besides wood smoke.
Isaacs believes the fierce demand is a sign both of the depressed economy and increased environmental awareness, as strained local governments seek both to clean up the air and, tap into federal funding to do so.
With a budget of $5 million, CAPP administration and the air district’s proposal review committee undeniably have their work cut out as they cull a majority of the requests and select the best of the proposals.
Proposals were due by February 15 and all are now undergoing initial reviews, she said.
Final evaluations and project approvals will take place by mid spring.
CAPP funding was provided to Great Basin by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power as mitigation for some of the air pollution caused by the water district’s drying out the Owens Lake. The lake is one of the single greatest sources of air pollution in the country and the courts had ordered funds, like that in the CAPP project, to be available for clean air projects within the district, emphasizing projects within and surrounding the Owens Lake area.
Clean air projects are defined as projects that will or could measurably reduce targeted air pollutants, including smoke, dust, and other harmful airborne compounds currently emitted within the air district’s boundaries.