Legislation by Assemblyman Manuel Perez, which I co-authored while a member of the State Senate, authorized air quality credits to be transferred and construction to proceed on the Sentinel power plant just south of the city of Desert Hot Springs.
The same legislation required the power plant owners to contribute 53 million dollars into a South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) mitigation fund, and specified how the funds were to be spent.
Specifically, the legislation requires that all of the funds be used to improve air quality.
Further, the legislation requires that 30% of the funds be used in the vicinity of the plant, another 30% in designated Environmental Justice (EJ) areas, and the remaining 40% at the discretion of the SCAQMD.
In exchange for allowing the building of this critically necessary power plant, we are now given a tremendous opportunity. Properly utilized, these mitigation funds will offset potential negative effects of the plant, and provide lasting improvements to our valley’s environment for many years to come.
The SCAQMD has issued a request for proposals for $53 million in air pollution reduction projects. With the unanimous vote of the SCAQMD Governing Board Feb. 3, 100 percent of this funding will be directed to projects exclusively in the Coachella Valley.
SCAQMD staff and my office will work diligently with groups in our community to provide the technical help they need to prepare proposals that meet the requirements of this fund. I encourage those seeking one-on-one assistance to contact my office so that we may facilitate SCAQMD technical assistance.
A bidder’s workshop will be held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. March 15 at the University of California, Riverside’s Palm Desert Campus at 75-080 Frank Sinatra Dr., Auditorium 1. SCAQMD personnel will also schedule four two day (Friday afternoon/Saturday morning) opportunities for one-on-one appointments with proposal proponents. Additional dates may be scheduled on an as needed basis.
All interested parties are encouraged to submit innovative, comprehensive proposals to help ensure that we meet the goals of the legislation and the mitigation fund. The deadline to submit a proposal is 5 p.m. June 8.
Please feel free to contact my office for assistance in preparing proposals for submission to the SCAQMD. We will be pleased to arrange opportunities to meet personally and locally with SCAQMD staff to help you get answers to any technical questions encountered in the preparation of your proposal.