Clean air and emissions standards
When I moved to Southern California in 1971, automobile emissions were poisoning the air. A recently published photo of LA’s shrouded skyline in 1973 reminded me how grim it was as the brown fog crept closer and closer to San Diego County. Fortunately, the California legislature passed increasingly strict vehicle emission standards in the next few decades, so that our air quality is much improved. We have not had a Stage 1 smog alert since 2003. Even so, our air is still not fully safe to breathe. An estimated 3,600 Californians die prematurely every year from the effects of polluted air.
Despite the impact of pollution on public health, President Trump’s proposed budget slashes funding to the Environmental Protection Agency, and his administration is considering not only reducing national emissions standards but also limiting the power of California and other states to maintain stricter requirements. Such actions would endanger our state’s hard-won progress in providing its inhabitants with that most vital necessity — clean air to breathe. Anyone who thinks enforcement of clean air standards is unnecessary has only to visit China or India to see — and breathe — the result.