Legislation on the Horizon to Add Two New SCAQMD Board Members
March 15, 2016 •
In a recent Los Angeles Times article, California’s State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles), said he will introduce legislation “to add three new members to the South Coast Air Quality Management District [SCAQMD] board — one public health expert and two environmental justice members.” That measure, which would expand the board from 13 members to 16, is being pondered following the dismissal of longtime SCAQMD executive officer Barry Wallerstein, who was removed following a 7-6 board vote earlier this month. That vote came after the board’s recent adoption of emissions rules on refineries and other major pollution sources that some deem too-industry friendly.
According to the article, Sen. de León “will push to reverse efforts by the Southern California air quality board to adopt pollution rules friendlier to industry, saying swift action is needed to prevent a rollback of environmental gains.”
SCAQMD is the air pollution control agency for all of Orange County and the urban portions of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, among the smoggiest regions of the country.
“This has been a wholesale takeover, to the detriment of children and families who breathe these harmful contaminants into their lungs every single day,” De León said. “We have progressed on our policies, we cannot go backward.”
Of Sen. de León’s proposed expansion of the board, the article said that “two of the additional appointees would be selected by state legislative leaders. The public health member would be appointed by the governor.”
The current make-up of the board includes 10 members who are city council members, mayors and county supervisors, chosen by other local elected officials in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties; and three members appointed by the state Assembly speaker, Senate leadership and the governor. All board members serve four-year terms.
Under Sen. De León’s proposal, board terms would be eliminated; instead, board members would serve an appointment period.
According to the article, the board changes will likely delay several emissions proposals in the works, as well as a new air quality plan to meet federal ozone standards due this year.
Contact ACA’s David Darling for more information.