The Air Resources Board will consider next month whether to include the combined towns of Arvin and Lamont in south Kern County within the AB 617 Community Air Protection Program.

Sitting in a geographic bowl alongside the foothills, the area traps harmful air pollution and is surrounded by farmland. The entire community is considered economically disadvantaged. According to a staff report, the source of pollution is “large-scale agricultural practices, concentrated warehouse distribution centers, and oil and gas farm development.”

The report recommends a community air monitoring system, along with incentives and policies for emissions reduction.

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The area was selected by the same San Joaquin Valley steering committee that called for the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) to develop a pesticide notification system for the town of Shafter, also in Kern County.

That effort has created a tense conflict between DPR and the county ag commissioner. Several environmental activists are listed as members of the committee.