OAKLAND, CA (Press Release) – After over two decades of Oakland going unrepresented on the Board of the powerful Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), Oakland Councilmember At-Large Rebecca Kaplan won a seat on the Board of Directors, representing all of the Cities of Alameda County.
Link for BAAQMD Board: http://www.baaqmd.gov/about-the-air-district/board-of-directors
Councilmember Kaplan is the first Oakland representative to hold a seat on BAAQMD’s Board of Directors since the late Oakland Councilmember Frank Ogawa left the Board in 1992. Kaplan obtained the seat, which is appointed by the Alameda County Conference of Mayors, by applying and obtaining the votes of Mayors of cities from throughout Alameda County, upon the departure of prior member, Margaret Fujioka of Piedmont.
In her short time thus far on the BAAQMD Board, Kaplan has successfully advanced limits on refinery pollution, new funding for the Broadway Shuttle connecting BART, ferries, Amtrak and more through downtown Oakland, and is launching new initiatives to clean up air pollution from trucks.
Kaplan said: “Parts of Oakland have had some of the highest asthma rates in the nation, and it is vital that programs and laws to improve air quality for our region protect some of our hardest hit and most vulnerable communities.”
Councilmember Kaplan plans to work with BAAQMD to achieve high quality air standards and reduce the health problems caused by air pollution. Councilmember Kaplan has already urged the Board of Directors to adopt stricter emission limits for the Bay Area oil refineries in order to protect community and refinery worker health and safety. “Bay Area residents already suffer disproportionally from emissions related diseases,” Kaplan said. “This is unacceptable, which is why we must prohibit any further increase of emissions from the five Bay Area oil refineries.”
Oakland receives a disproportionate share of some of the negative impacts, from truck congestion and pollution from ships and other projects that benefit the economy of the region. Solving the region’s traffic congestion and air quality problems can be achieved more effectively if the city in the heart of the region, which carries a majority of freight traffic and other impacts, is at the table and part of the solution.
Bringing creative programs, whether connecting transit systems, increasing use of zero-emission vehicles, or improving truck systems to protect communities, can improve air quality and human health for Oakland and the entire Bay Area.
To learn more about BAAQMD, please click here.
In Oakland, Councilmember Kaplan fought for and succeeded in keeping the Free Broadway Shuttle running. This fast and free shuttle connects riders to Oakland offices, restaurants, local shops, and social services 7 days a week. “Before the Broadway Shuttle, Oakland had a hole in the transit system,” Kaplan said. “The Broadway Shuttle helps weave that together, which is why I am so happy to have succeeded in maintaining this service.”
To learn more about the Broadway Free Shuttle, please click here.