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Winning Clean-Air Bills

September 17, 2004

Although cooler temperatures have eased smog's grip on the Southland this summer, the region still has the dirtiest air in the nation. Our air pollution is so severe that it is stunting the lung growth of our children and probably endangering their future health, according to a USC study released last week.

For these reasons, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger should sign two sensible bills to reduce air pollution from two of the largest sources -- old cars and marine ports.

AB 2683 would eliminate the current exemption for vehicles 30 years and older from the state's Smog Check Program. Concerns reportedly expressed by Jay Leno and classic car collectors that the bill would interfere with their hobby are unfounded (Sept. 14-15). Under the measure, models from 1975 and earlier would be permanently exempt from a smog check.

AB 2042 would prohibit an increase in emissions from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach -- the largest fixed sources of toxic and smog-forming pollution in Southern California. Unlike virtually every other significant source of pollution, emissions from the ports are expected to substantially increase in coming years due to growth in trade and cargo traffic. Cost-effective emission control strategies at the ports can prevent this growth in pollution while accommodating greater cargo capacity.

Barry R. Wallerstein

Executive Officer

South Coast Air Quality Management District

Diamond Bar


Recently, The Times has run several articles regarding the increases in respiratory and oral-pharyngeal cancers in Los Angeles, the detrimental affects of smog on lung development in young children and smog checks for classic cars.

I have a particular interest in these topics as my sister, who lives in the L.A. area, was diagnosed six months ago with lung cancer. She is only 44 years old. She never smoked. We may never know the exact cause of her lung cancer.

However, it doesn't take a doctor, scientist or environmentalist to realize the profound effect that all kinds of pollution have on our bodies. Perhaps Leno would feel differently about having his classic car collection smog-checked yearly if he or someone in his family developed lung cancer.

Jennifer Norin


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