Washington, DC - U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, introduced the "Air and Health Quality Empowerment Zone Designation Act of 2010" - a bill designed to reduce air pollution in the San Joaquin Valley, which has some of the highest levels of pollution in the nation. Congressman Jerry McNerney (CA-11) introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives today.

Senator Boxer said, "Air pollution in the San Joaquin Valley is putting our most vulnerable people at risk. This legislation will result in a healthier environment for our children and families, while also creating jobs and strengthening the economy in the Valley."

Air pollution in the San Joaquin Valley has significant impacts on the health, development and economy of the surrounding areas. In the Valley, one in five children are diagnosed with asthma, and there is a chronic double-digit unemployment rate, increasing the need for assistance to help combat air pollution. The bill would allow the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to designate areas within the San Joaquin Valley as Air and Health Quality Empowerment Zones. The zones will then be eligible for grants to fund the replacement or repair of vehicles and/or engines to reduce air pollution.

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