Posts Tagged ‘Coalition for Clean Air’

SMOGTOWN book discussion — courtesy of Chip, Bill, Tom Hayden, Kevin Roderick and Martin Schlageter — coming to the L.A. Public Library’s ALOUD program this Tuesday. Should be a robust event. We can’t wait.

Thursday, June 4th, 2009


If you’re interested in making it for this panel discussion, Q&A with the audience and signing at the downtown Central Branch, click here for details. They put on a wonderful program. Ours will be in the Mark Taper Auditorium.

Here’s the promo:

Tuesday, June 9 7:00 pm

SMOGTOWN: The Lung-Burning History of Pollution in Los Angeles How did smog help mold the modern-day culture of Los Angeles? Join this discussion about pollution, progress and the epic struggle against airborne poisons.

A panel discussion with authors Chip Jacobs and William J. Kelly; Tom Hayden, author and former state legislator; and Martin Schlageter, Coalition for Clean Air. Moderated by Kevin Roderick, Editor,

CENTRAL LIBRARY • Mark Taper Auditorium
Fifth & Flower Streets, Downtown L.A.
PARKING: 524 S. Flower St. Garage. $1 until 8:45pm with LAPL Card validation which must be obtained.
FREE, RESERVATIONS: (213) 228-7025 or
Limited Seating, Reservations Recommended.

P.S. Apologies for the non-existent posting of late. Chip has been on assignment.

Around the smoggy globe we go. Kids, take notes. Earth Day, afterall, approaches.

Thursday, March 26th, 2009


Coal forever? Oh, please. Here’s an interesting blog entry about Caltech laying waste to another myth.

L.A. and Houston have warred for years over NOT being coronoated as America’s smoggiest metropolitan area. Now, the lone star state is looking to kick California’s butt by actually claiming a new title: the solar power honco of states. See link.

Right-wingers will disparage this as more proof of Obama’s socialistic leanings. Enviros and moderates, especially those familiar with Los Angeles’ efforts to get the toxic chemicals creating smog labeled a health threat, about time. Carbon dioxide has both a direct link to smog and a horrifying lexus with global warming, which will be giving us refugee crises, reinvigorated diseases like Malaria and Dysentary, drought, hunger and other “indirect” consequences. A pretty big story lost in news of the emasculated economy.

A view of how things stand from the Coalition for Clean Air, including a move by the South Coast Air Quality Management District to limit toxic volatile organic compounds in paint thinners and such.

A terrific global warming overview from folks who know their stuff: the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Assuring environmental justice as California moves forward fighting global warming is going to require hard thinking and remembering how the poor and disenfranchised tend to get stuck inhaling somebobdy else’s waste

Monday, December 8th, 2008

The state’s bellweather 2006 Global Warming Solutions Act, known wonkishly as AB-32 (the AB stands for Assembly Bill), requires California to roll back greenhouses gases emissions like carbon dioxide to 1990 levels by 2020. As history has repeatedly proven, when the federal government won’t take the green bull by the horns, California will — and we have the puncture wounds to prove it. The California Air Resources Board approved a pollution-credit exchange called a “cap-and-trade” as one of the primary means to achieve these dramatic reducations, but as anybody who has followed these markets will tell you, they only work as well as their architecture, oversight and flexibility provide. Many don’t realize what one rogue smog trader did to the AQMD’s watershed RECLAIM program. We spend time on the subject of the brazen Anne Sholtz and the exchange she defrauded in our book, Smogtown: the Lung-Burning History of Pollution in Los Angeles. There’s plenty in there too about how low-wage, minority-laden cities have historically taken it on the chin when it comes to big industry locating and dumping on them, often with the blessing of regulators sworn to protect them. (We also identify one of the first EJ moments anyone can remember when a group of mothers from South Central Los Angeles protested garbage dump fumes they contended were making their kids ill.)

The greenhouse gas market under AB-32 is going to dwarf AQMD’s smog-credit market in activity, complexity and stakes. There’s a lot of activity going into the bill’s implementation plan, and just as much behind-the-scenes action by environmental groups and others to insert language that protects low-income and rural neighborhoods from becoming virtual emission dumping grounds under AB-32. This is not an abstract alarm. It’s happened repeatedly during the air pollution fight, particularly near the ports and the gritty, low-slung communities that line them and the nearby freeways. The latter part of Smogtown hits this issue hard. As for AB-32, what’s to prevent new or expanding industry to move in there, pollute as their permit allows, but offset that GW damage far away from ther source or not sufficiently enough? Will the strictures in the legislation intended to prevent that really work?

One of the area’s largest environmental groups, the Coalition for Clean Air, has made enshrining further protections for areas that usually don’t have much of a political voice one of its paramount campaigns. They want the Air Resources Board to accept three requirements before the marketplace wheeling and dealing gets underway. The Coalition knows what happens in California environmentally becomes the gold standard copied and analyzed around the nation and the world. If we blow it here, the upshot in a warming world could be pretty rough. In general, the Coalition is asking:

1. For the ARB to pinpoint areas already overwhelmed by pollution sources, and label them “hot spots.” Only after this assessment is done by the end of 2009 should the law kick in. You can’t protect something if you’re not sure where it is.
2. Because the law was shaped to not only protect poor and rural areas saddled with disportionate pollution from multiple sources but to assist them as well, the Coalition has advocated that a portion of the money created by the cap-and-trade go into a so-called “Community Benefits Fund.” This pool of cash would offset, by different types of mitigation strategies, some of the existing airbone pollution and help bankroll community and local-government programs dealing with episodic climate change problems right in their backyard. Besides readying for heat waves, some of the money could go for upgrading to energy-efficient equipment and replacing “dirty” vehicles with cleaner ones. Robin-Hoodish Ideas like this has been on local regulators’ books for years. It’s also been a focus of contention.
3. Finally, the Coalition wants limitations on credit purchases and use. If a company, for instance, wants to add new emissions to an existing hot spot community, that company would have to pay a premium into the Community Benefits Fund so the area can compensate for the additional pollution throw-weight being shoveled onto it. This is not all that different from what some developers must do to soften the impact of their construction in dense or troubled areas. There also needs to be a general vigilance and hard limits about how much pollution is allowed to be shifted from one community to another with offsets and mitigations and permitting, and policing of the entire system so everybody is cutting their global warming emissiins and not just manuvering in the market.

It’s all tricky stuff that has to be hashed out

We encourage people to educate themselves about AB-32, environmental justice, pollution credit markets and the vested interests hovering around all of it. One of the lessons of Smogtown was that when the people became complacent, the skies grew worse. Back in the 1960s, there was no market incentives like this to de-filth Los Angeles’ airshed. Now there is for good old climate change, and it’s probably going global soon than you think. (President-elect Obama supports a national cap-and-trade regimen). Not incidentally, the American Lung Association and others supports the Coalition’s plank.

To learn more about the Coalition’s proposal, visit this link.

Another useful link: here