Air-quality officials in the oil-refinery-dotted and highway-laced San Francisco Bay Area committed Wednesday to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the famously progressive region.
Bay Area Air Quality Management District leaders directed agency staff [PDF] to begin the work needed to reduce emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. The unanimous vote by the air district's directors was celebrated by environmentalists, including 350.org and the Sierra Club, which described it as "historic."
"This is a little more significant than most climate action plans, in that the air district has real regulatory teeth," 350.org Bay Area spokesperson Rand Wrobel told Grist. "This resolution will mean that the five refineries in the Bay Area could basically not function, as they produce some 40 percent of
the stationary source industrial and commercial emissions."
The heavily polluting refineries could be forced to cut output or vastly improve their environmental performance at a time when they are preparing to begin processing dirty tar-sands oil from Canada.