In August 2017, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill (AB 617), a law relating to criteria air pollutants and toxic air contaminants from non-vehicular sources. This law aims to reduce air pollution in disadvantaged communities and improving health outcomes.
AB 617 requires the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to develop a monitoring plan for the state and then select, based on the plan, the highest priority locations to deploy community air monitoring systems. The City of Paramount has applied to be considered for this list.
Paramount is located in the southeast portion of Los Angeles County, located immediately adjacent to the Long Beach Freeway (I-710). The freeway is a primary truck route from the ports. Moreover, when the City was incorporated in 1957, it inherited land uses that the County of Los Angeles had put in place. Though changes to the zoning code have been made over the years, many of the industrial uses in town predate the City’s incorporation and cannot be closed or relocated.
The City is both home to four large-scale metal forging companies — Carlton Forge Works, Mattco Forge, Press Forge, and Weber Metals — and since 2013, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) has conducted ambient monitoring of toxic metal emissions in Paramount. Over the course of 2017, SCAQMD investigated elevated levels of hexavalent chromium and, via a network of air samplers, determined the sources of emissions traced to Aerocraft Heat Treating Company, Anaplex Corporation, and Lubeco, Inc (in north Long Beach, adjacent to Paramount).
Since Paramount has communities with closely interspersed residential properties and properties with toxic emissions sources, as well as communities in proximity of a highly trafficked freeway (especially with heavy truck traffic), City staff had targeted a AB 617 submittal early on. In addition to SCAQMD’s active involvement in working on comprehensive air sampling and monitoring, the City would be in a better position to monitor air quality throughout its communities in the long-term.
CARB is in the process of preparing its statewide strategy to reduce emissions of toxic air contaminants and criteria pollutants in exposure-burdened communities. Paramount and other applicants will learn more on its selection choices in the coming months.
Edit 6/11/18: Speaker of the Assembly Anthony Rendon has written in support of the City’s application for the AB 617 program.