The San Jose/Oakland/San Francisco region shares some of the most polluted air in the state of California and it’s getting worse not better, according to the Los Angeles Times in a report published Wednesday. To breathe a fouler air, one must travel to Los Angeles, the home of Hollywood stars, or Bakersfield, where diesel fumes thicken the air. It seems California, the quintessential home of liberalism, is also the nation’s leader in producing harmful ozone pollution, according to the American Lung Association State of the Air 2016 report.
Deer and antelope may still roam the Golden State, but eight out of 10 Californians – 32 million people – live in places where unhealthy levels of ozone or particle pollution hamper their breathing and endanger their health at some time during any given year. The critical report on California’s environmental shortcomings was developed using three years of EPA data ending in 2014.
Los Angeles, at once a hotbed of environmental activism and home to Hollywood stars who build and live in enormous mansions with ridiculously massive carbon footprints continues its tradition of having the most polluted air, although the report cited some improvement in a few regions. While ever-increasing taxation and business regulation is driving huge corporations from the state, air pollution is a growing concern for residents living in affected regions. Meanwhile, the right balance between environmental concerns and the state’s economy is yet to be established. Southern California’s air quality board recently dismissed Barry Wallerstein, 62, who chaired the South Coast Air Quality Management District board. Fellow board members cited a need to partner with private enterprise to help clean up the air without chasing industries from the state with overreaching regulation.
“With every rule-making and regulation we need to be looking at the economic impact as well as the environmental impacts,” board member Dwight Robinson said in an interview last month.
While California’s air pollution problem is extensive and many decades old, activists on the left tend to blame the situation on global warming or climate change. On the other hand, in recent years corporations once friendly to the state have moved their manufacturing operations to places like Texas or across-the-border to Mexico.
As the Democrat-controlled state struggles to strike a balance between its economy and environment, advocates on both sides need to take a breath and join forces. Without jobs, people can’t eat and without air they can’t breathe. California’s governor, state and local legislatures must do a better job balancing the state’s environmental concerns with economic growth.