Environmental Law

California Air Resources Board

December 2, 2011, 10:53 am

Introduction

The California Air Resources Board, also known as (CARB), is the "clean air agency" in the government of California.

CARB was formed in 1967 as a department within the California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA). Its stated goals include attaining and maintaining healthy air quality, protecting the public from exposure to toxic air contaminants and providing innovative approaches for complying with national and state air pollution control rules and regulations.[1]

CARB's headquarter offices are maintained in Sacramento, the capital city of California.

A brief history

In 1967, California's state Legislature passed the Mulford-Carrell Act, which created CARB by combining two bureaus within the Department of Health, namely the Bureau of Air Sanitation and the Motor Vehicle Pollution Control Board.[1]

On February 8, 1968, CARB held its first meeting in Scaramento. Since that time, CARB has worked with the public, the business sector and local governments to mitigate California's air pollution problem. The resulting state air quality standards developed by CARB have outpaced the rest of the nation and have led to the development of new antismog technology for motor vehicles as well as for industrial facilities.[1]

Dr. Arie  Haagen-Smit became CARB's first chairman in 1968. His background included 16 years as a professor of biochemistry at the California Institute of  Technology and 8 years as an original board member of the Motor Vehicle Pollution Control Board. His research uncovered the atmospheric chemical interactions that caused the formation of smog. He found that most of California's smog is a result of photochemistry when the exhaust gases from motor vehicles and industrial facilities react with sunlight to create ozone. This break-through was  the foundation upon which today's nationwide air pollution standards are based. Dr. Haagen-Smit died in March 1977, just two months after the CARB laboratory in El Monte, California was dedicated in his name.

Through ARB regulations, today's new cars pollute 99 percent less than their predecessors did thirty years ago. As a result of the CARB's work to limit air pollution, the number of first stage alerts in the Los Angeles area has been cut from over 200 per year in the 1970s to less than 10 per year today. Other regions of the state also have improved air quality despite massive increases in population, the number of motor vehicles and the distances they are driven.[1]

Governance

CARB is governed by a board made up of eleven members appointed by the state's governor with the consent of the state's Senate.[2] The Board members serve part time, except for the chairperson, who serves full time.

California has 35 regional air districts, 23 of which are designated as "Air Pollution Control Districts" (APCDs) and 12 are designated as  "Air Quality Mangement Districts" (AQMDs).  The adjacent map depicts the 35 air districs.

Five of the eleven governing board members must be chosen from the boards of the 35 regional air districts and they  function to represent all of the regional districts. As mandated by law, they are selected as follows:

Three of the members must fit into these specific categories:

  • One having expertise in automotive engineering or a closely related field.
  • One having expertise in science, agriculture, or law.
  • One being a physician or health effects expert.

The remaining three members are public members, one of whom must have air pollution control experience or fit into one of the above three specific categories.

CARB's Organizational Structure

CARB has nine major Divisions:[3]

Planning and Technical Support Division

The Planning and Technical Support Division assesses the extent of California's air quality problems and the progress being made to abate them, coordinates statewide development of clean air plans and maintains databases pertinent to air quality and air pollutant emissions. The Division's technical support work provides a basis for clean air plans and CARB's regulatory programs. This support includes management and interpretation of emission inventories, air quality data, meteorological data and of air pollution dispersion modeling.

The Planning and Technical Support Division has six branches:[4]

  • Emission Inventory Branch
  • Modeling & Meteorology Branch
  • Air Quality Data Branch
  • Air Quality & Transportation Planning Branch
  • Mobile Source Analysis Branch
  • Consumer Product and New Strategies Branch

Atmospheric Modeling & Support Section

The Atmospheric Modeling & Support Section is one of three sections within the Modeling & Meteorology Branch. The other two sections are the Regional Air Quality Modeling Section and the Meteorology Section.[4]

The air quality and atmospheric pollution dispersion models [5][6]routinely used by this Section include a number of the models recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA):[7]

  • AERMOD: Maintained by the U.S. EPA and available from their website.[8]
  • SCREEN3 and T-SCREEN screening models: Maintained by the U.S. EPA and available from their website.[8]
  • ISCST3 Maintained by the U.S. EPA and available from their website.[8]

The Section also uses models which were either developed by CARB or whose development was funded by CARB, such as:[7]

  • CALPUFF: Development funded by CARB. Currently maintained by TRC Companies.[9]
  • CALINE-4: Maintained by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and available from their website.[10]
  • CALGRID: Developed by CARB and currently maintained by CARB.[11]
  • SARMAP: Developed by CARB and currently maintained by CARB.[12]

References

  1. History of the Air Resources Board, from the website of the California Air Resources Board (CARB).
  2. Selection of the Members of the Air Resources Board, from the website of the California Air Resources Board (CARB).
  3. Organizations within the California Air Resources Board, from the website of the California Air Resources Board (CARB).
  4. Planning and Technical Support Division,from the website of the California Air Resources Board (CARB).
  5. Milton Beychok (2005), Fundamentals of Stack Gas Dispersion, 4th Edition, author-published, ISBN 0-9644588-0-2.
  6. D.B. Turner (1994), Workbook of atmospheric dispersion estimates: an introduction to dispersion modeling, 2nd Edition, CRC Press, ISBN 1-56670-023-X.
  7. Modeling Software, from the website of the California Air Resources Board (CARB).
  8. Air Quality Models, from the website of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA).
  9. The CALPUFF Modeling System, from the website of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA).
  10. CALINE4 Manual, from the website of the California Department of Transportation (CalTrans).
  11. Software and Data from the Modeling and Meteorology Branch, from the website of the California Air Resources Board (CARB).
  12. SARMAP Modeling System, from the website of the California Air Resources Board (CARB).
Glossary

Citation

Beychok, M. (2011). California Air Resources Board. Retrieved from http://www.eoearth.org/view/article/51cbf2577896bb431f6a8dda

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