The City of Paramount has a long record of providing high-quality services and programs to its residents, as well as a solid reputation of being business-friendly in an effort to provide a vibrant local employment market.
A segment of the business community in an industrial area has recently been the focus of air-quality monitoring by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD). Two of those monitors detected exceedingly high levels of hexavalent chromium on three days late last year. Since then, the levels have fallen well below those highs but have still been above common levels for the area.
SCAQMD was established in 1975 by State law to regulate local air quality related to air emissions from businesses. According to that same State law, a City cannot create and enforce air quality laws – only SCAQMD can.
While SCAQMD is responsible for these issues in town, the City has been doing whatever it can to help with the investigation and produce a positive outcome.
For instance, when the SCAQMD originally asked for help with installing the air monitors, the City waived all encroachment permits and assisted SCAQMD with getting permission from Southern California Edison (SCE) to install the monitors on SCE-owned poles.
The City also offered SCAQMD the opportunity to install monitors on City-owned stop signs and street signs.
Since then, Paramount has taken the following actions:
- Formed a City Council Air Quality Sub Committee to examine air quality concerns, digest the significant amount of information being generated by the regulatory agencies involved, and develop policy ideas within the City’s authority.
- Held the first of the Air Quality Sub Committee meetings on Saturday, December 10, at 1:00 p.m. at Progress Park Plaza that included presentations and public comments.
- Passed a 45-day moratorium on all new metal businesses in town and the expansion of existing metal businesses at the Dec. 13 City Council meeting. The initial 45 days is mandated by law. This can then be extended.
- Hired consultants specializing in environmental issues to empower the City to be an active partner with the regulating agencies and to keep residents informed.
- Provided City of Paramount Code Enforcement officers to help SCAQMD investigators as needed.
- Communicated with the offices of Assembly Member/Speaker of the Assembly Anthony Rendon, State Senator Ricardo Lara, U.S. Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, and L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn to assess the situation and gain counsel.
- Requested better communication from SCAQMD staff between both City staff and residents, which resulted in a weekly conference call for the public and daily contact with City staff, all to ensure transparency and access to information.
- City pays for Spanish translation of the weekly public conference calls.
- Provided a list of all metal-related business to SCAQMD according to the business license database to help investigators find the sources of these elevated readings.
- Began exploring a plan for long-term, expanded air-quality monitoring to be funded by the City.
- Offered the use of City funds to pay SCAQMD staff time to get quicker sampling results.
- Offered to pay for Sheriff’s deputies to accompany SCAQMD staff if the need should arise to serve warrants during investigations.
- Offered the use of City Public Works equipment (power generators, street barricades, etc.) to help power and set up air monitors.
- Leveraged City communication platforms to spread the word about any SCAQMD public meetings and investigation results to ensure public information.
- Consistently provided SCAQMD the use of facilities for town hall meetings at no cost.
- Addressed the SCAQMD Board at its Dec. 2 meeting to express the City’s view that this matter be given the utmost attention.
- Sent letters from Mayor Hofmeyer to Anaplex and Aerocraft – two companies found to be sources of high readings – urging them to work with SCAQMD to resolve their pollution concerns.
- Mayor Hofmeyer testified before the Hearing Board related to SCAQMD proceedings against Anaplex and Aerocraft on December 14.
- On December 20, Mayor Hofmeyer and Councilmember Diane J. Martinez met with Supervisor Janice Hahn and testified before the Board of Supervisors in favor of Hahn’s motion regarding County action on air quality in Paramount.
- On December 21, Vice Mayor Peggy Lemons and Councilmember Diane J. Martinez met with State Senator Ricardo Lara at his Long Beach office to update the Senator.
- Launched an online community information portal on issues related to air quality in town located at paramountenvironment.org.
The City will continue to work proactively every way it can with SCAQMD, other agencies, and the community at large until these concerns are resolved.