Air alert program strapped for funds

Spreading the word about tighter pollution standards this winter won’t be easy. In spite of tighter standards no additional money has been set aside for monitor or incentive programs, experts said.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District — which earmarks about $270,000 in its annual budget for a handful of education programs, including the winter Spare the Air Tonight program, consumer products and lawn and garden equipment — is at a major disadvantage in the winter compared to the summer Spare the Air program, officials said.

During the summer the state and federal governments pump millions into the program to encourage public transit by offering free rides, according to Luna Salaver, district spokeswoman.

“It will be a challenge to educate the public [this year],” Salaver said. “When our budget was created, we didn’t know they were going to adopt the more stringent [particulate] standards so soon.”

Spare the Air Tonight, which is voluntary, partners with 2,000 Bay Area businesses to spread the word to workers and residents when a warning is issued. Another 40,000 people and organizations have signed up to receive “air alerts” by text message, e-mail or pager, Salaver said.

Future ambitions include an incentive program to coax homeowners into converting their wood-burning fireplace to gas to spare the air, Salaver said.

— Edward Carpenter

Just Posted

Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence patch things up with leather fair organizers

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and organizers of S.F.’s leather fair have patched things up.

Planning Commissioner Rich Hillis steps down to seek role as department head

San Francisco Planning Commissioner Richard Hillis has resigned from his post and… Continue reading

Death on BART tracks prompts major systemwide delay

An unidentified person entered the trackway at Powell Street BART station and was struck by a train.

Federal judge blocks California law to force disclosure of Trump’s tax returns

Sep. 19—SACRAMENTO — A federal judge ordered a temporary injunction Thursday against… Continue reading

SF public defender calls deputy shooting ‘preventable and unnecessary tragedy’

Sheriff identifies four deputies involved in incident that killed dog, allegedly wounded owner

Most Read