Welcome to The Green Wave! This will be an ongoing series of profiles featuring the outstanding organizations we partner with at GRID Alternatives Greater Los Angeles, and their environmental justice & sustainability projects focused on the advancement of a cleaner environment for future generations.
We're proud to feature the Coalition for Clean Air (CCA) as our first Green Wave Partner Profile. CCA is a non-profit organization who has made its presence known through their diligent work in the transportation sector. Their mission, “to protect public health, improve air quality, and prevent climate change” has been made possible through their projects and advocacy for policies in advance clean transportation in communities that need the investments and have the highest number of barriers today. CCA understands that the fastest way to reduce gas emissions and increase air quality is to work directly with the state legislature, resources board, local air districts, cities, and partner with other like-minded organizations
GRID Alternatives Greater Los Angeles (GRID GLA) has worked with CCA on a number of advisory committees, such as the Sustainable Supply Chain Advisory Committee – Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach (ssclalb.org) that works with both the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles to address challenges and opportunities for improving sustainability within the goods movement sector. And the CCA is currently a member of the Community Advisory Committee for the eTRUC - California’s Research Hub for Electric Technologies in Truck Applications project that is supporting the effort to identify charging infrastructure sites for Medium/Heavy Duty electric trucks along the 710 Corridor.
Stella Ursua, Senior Programs & Partnerships Manager, states: “this partnership with the Coalition for Clean Air is important to GRID and aligns with our mission to build community-powered solutions, both in the clean energy and transportation spaces, to advance economic and environmental justice in communities most vulnerable to climate change.”
Chris Chavez – CCA Deputy Policy Director
GRID GLA had the opportunity to sit down with Chris Chavez, CCA's Deputy Policy Director, who coordinates large groups of individuals in business, health, and environmental justice events to advocate for clean transportation funding.
Chris recalls an invisible barrier on the street he grew up in. On the other side of his home, electric vehicles started to appear, while on his side of the street electric vehicles didn’t appear for quite some time. Even now, He lives near the I-710 freeway. As someone who has experienced the root of the issue, he works daily with the motivation to help lower the contamination of pollutants in communities who face the same barriers he does.
“We're still dealing with the legacy of environmental injustice from decades ago and there needs to be extra effort, there needs to be extra attention paid to the communities that are suffering those disproportionate impacts.”
– Chris Chavez, Deputy Policy Director, Coalition For Clean Air
One of their biggest projects yet is called JETSI (Joint Electric Truck Scaling Initiative). This is a large deployment of 100 electric trucks to North America that is set to eliminate five tons of NOx and particulate matter (PM) annually along Southern California’s I-710 and other freight corridors. Including the addition of solar energy generation and electric truck chargers, this project hopes to achieve the necessary emission and GHG reductions, but also serve as a blueprint for other zero-emission fleets across the nation. Do keep your eyes open as the first set of electric trucks arrived in June of 2023.
Apart from their own projects, CCA engages with other organizations' projects involved around the clean transportation sector. Currently, they are an essential committee member of the project eTRUC ( Electric Truck Research and Utilization Center) managed by EPRI, CALSTART, CEC, and GRID Alternatives GLA.
Coalition for Clean Air’s knowledge and advice has been helpful throughout our initial process of the development of megawatt charging technology, capable of providing 100 miles of range in less than a 10-minute charge for heavy-duty zero emission trucks. As we continue to build out this project, Chris Chavez states that the importance of working with GRID is to amplify each other’s efforts and find opportunities to deploy trucks in locations that benefit the most communities, instead of letting the market decide where to randomly instate them.
Chris Chavez mentions the mistrust the community has built against many corporations as well as the wariness of electric batteries instead of fuel. These are obstacles we all face and must overcome them. This is something we understand well at GRID GLA, working with the community at their pace to build trust is integral to what we do.
Chris is also passionate about building trust alongside the community. He presents the following two questions “how do we make that sort of outreach, that sort of information relevant to them in their daily lives” and “how do you show that the deployment of the zero emission trucks is going to benefit their health?” Building trust and sharing knowledge within the community is a difficult task to accomplish, but if we work together alongside other community engagement organizations, we are able to broaden our outreach circle.
Whats next for CCA?
Coalition for Clean Air will continue to fight for budget advocacy, a necessary task that's essential to all our clean transportation projects. Working in this sector can be tough due to unexpected potential cuts, but CCA is ready to take a stand and ensure an appropriate budget can be secured. Which then, they will then locally look to help the development of rules to reduce pollution from port and rail yards through the deployment of clean trucks, good movement equipment, and charging infrastructure.
CCA’s equity-based approach, and their commitment to transforming California to a sustainable way of life, is what makes them a proud partner of GRID Alternatives Greater Los Angeles. Thank you for letting us feature you in our Green Wave Partner Series!
GRID Alternatives is a 501c3 non-profit that offers
- Free solar panels to income qualified families
- Free solar installation job training to anyone over 18
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