[Source: The Press Enterprise] The South Coast Air Quality Management District’s newest incoming leader says she wants the air district to use the full extent of its regulatory might to protect neighborhoods and communities from harmful air pollution.
The Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl will be sworn in today and will get the chance to try to redirect air district’s governing board toward a more aggressive approach to reducing air pollution.
Her seating will eliminate a Republican majority on the board, and, perhaps, a more business-friendly approach to smog-cleanup efforts by the air district, which oversees the sea-to-mountains air basin over Orange County, and the urban portions Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.
Republicans on the 13-member board voted on a party line last year to fire the air district’s longtime top administrator, Barry Wallerstein. His replacement, Wayne Nastri, later oversaw the drafting of a proposed 15-year air cleanup plan that relies heavily on financial incentives – and less on regulations – for polluters to reduce emissions.
Kuehl said in a telephone interview she prefers regulations that require emission reductions and that cleanup costs be paid by those responsible for the pollution.
“I want to see more regulations than incentives when possible,” Kuehl said.
Kuehl is a Harvard Law School-educated attorney who served eight years in the state Senate and six years in the state Assembly in Sacramento.
Her first task as a member of the air district board is to learn the full extent of the air district’s regulatory authority, she said.
“I need to educate myself to learn deeply about the jurisdictional limits, and the extent of those limits,” she said. “It is important for me as an attorney to see how far the authority goes.”
It is best to use incentives to reduce pollution in areas where the air district does not have regulatory authority, she said.
Generally speaking, the air district regulates oil refineries, power plants factories and other non-moving sources. And federal and state agencies regulate emissions from moving sources, such as cars, trucks, locomotives, heavy construction vehicles and boats.
The moving sources emit most of the pollution.
Source: The Press Enterprise
January 5, 2016