As a rural area, Shafter will complement the urban area selection of Fresno to form a more balanced initial year of AB 617 implementation. The rural community of Shafter in Kern County has a current estimated population of over 19,000, and is influenced by rural sources of emissions, including the agricultural and oil and gas production industries. In addition, major roadways in the community include Highway 43 and the Lerdo Highway, both crossing directly through Shafter and contributing to mobile source emissions in the area. Locomotive emissions also influence the community as railroad tracks run parallel to Highway 43. Local area-wide sources such as gas stations, commercial cooking, and consumer products also contribute to the community’s emissions levels. Due to this, the community emissions reduction plans that will be developed for all of the recommended selected areas in the Valley will include strategies that address both urban sources of emissions as well as rural sources that contribute to Shafter’s air quality challenges.
Geographically this community is bounded by Merced Avenue to the north, the Calloway canal and Cherry Ave. to the east, Orange Street to the south, and Scaroni Avenue to the west. This area does not encompass the entire boundaries of the City of Shafter but the core, along with the small community of Smith Corner to the south, as well as the nearby rural areas surrounding the area. The City of Shafter includes businesses, schools, and residential areas.
The Shafter community is impacted across a number of health indicators, as summarized in the CalEnviroScreen tool. The Shafter community includes high average percentiles among its census tracts within many indicators, with many averages exceeding the 70th percentile for the state. Specifically, the average Overall CES Score for this community exceeds the 86th percentile for the state, while the average Cardiovascular Disease score exceeds the 85th percentile for the state. The Shafter community also includes census tracts that rank very high among all tracts across the state, specifically some that rank above the 90th percentile. Notably, this community includes tracts that rank above the 90th percentile for Poverty and Unemployment, with Unemployment ranking above the 98th percentile. This community includes census tracts with health indicators that exceed the 80th percentile in a number of the listed categories, indicating that this community includes areas impacted by environmental challenges.