Pulse Beat: Paramount Councilmembers Meet with Local Officials and Address Board of Supervisors On Air Quality

At the December 20 meeting of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, Supervisor Janice Hahn, who represents the Fourth District and the City of Paramount, introduced a motion related to the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s (AQMD) recently announced discovery of elevated levels of hexavalent chromium in the City.

The motion states that the County Department of Public Health and the Fire Department have been working closely with SCAQMD to assess the potential health risk to workers and residents. It also noted that on November 30, SCAQMD identified two facilities as significant sources of hexavalent chromium emissions: Anaplex Corporation and Aerocraft Heat Treating Company, Inc. Then, on December 1, Public Health issued directives to both companies requiring immediate action as necessary to reduce their hexavalent chromium emissions and eliminate the danger to the public, including the partial or complete suspension of operations.

The Supervisor’s motion requested that the Board encourage SCAQMD to move quickly with its Petition for Order of Abatement with Anaplex and Aerocraft; directed the Department of Public Health, in consultation with County Counsel, to identify all options to compel actions, including legal, by Anaplex and Aerocraft to immediately cease emissions of hexavalent chromium; directed the Department of Public Health to strengthen communication with the City of Paramount; and directed the Department of Public Health to report back to the Board monthly on the issue.

In their capacity as members of the Paramount City Council Air Quality Sub Committee, Mayor Daryl Hofmeyer and Councilmember Diane J. Martinez met with Supervisor Hahn in her office before the meeting to discuss the situation. They then gave testimony at the meeting in support of the Supervisor’s motion. Here are their remarks:

Mayor Daryl Hofmeyer

Hello. I’m Mayor Daryl Hofmeyer from the City of Paramount. I’m here to give total support to the motion made by Supervisor Hahn regarding the air quality issues occurring in our town. We appreciate very much the Supervisor’s attention to this matter and her action to have the entire Board encourage AQMD to act quickly and decisively in the cases of Anaplex and Aerocraft, the two companies identified as the sources of high hexavalent chromium levels. Since these raised levels were first brought to our attention in early November, we have, ourselves, been urging AQMD to provide us with information about the readings and their investigation. We have pressed them to find and stop the source by whatever means they have at their disposal. And to do everything they can to keep this from happening elsewhere in our community. The health and welfare of everybody in Paramount is always our utmost concern. I’ve lived in Paramount for nearly 60 years. My children and grandchildren live in Paramount. My business is located near the source of these readings. I have as big a stake as anybody in getting this situation fixed. So, again, I welcome the Board’s involvement in helping us push things along quickly and forcefully. And I urge your support of Supervisor Hahn’s motion.

Councilmember Diane J. Martinez

Good morning. I’m Councilmember Diane Martinez. I join Mayor Hofmeyer today in supporting the motion by Supervisor Hahn. As a lifelong resident of Paramount, I’ve been committed to bringing my community together as a team to meet any challenge we have faced. Partnerships create positive results, and I’m happy to have the Board of Supervisors join us in this alliance to demand quick action by the AQMD. I am also pleased that Supervisor Hahn’s motion will enlist the County Department of Public Health and the County Counsel to help control this situation. Communication is key between all the public agencies that have the power to act when it comes to air quality. The fact that the County and AQMD are now working together is a great relief to us. We will continue to support all of these efforts, and look forward to being updated on a regular basis by all parties, including Supervisor Hahn’s staff. Thank you.

The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve the motion.

Councilmember Martinez and Vice Mayor Peggy Lemons then met on December 21 with State Senator Ricardo Lara at his Long Beach office to discuss the SCAQMD-related issues.

Senator Lara shared the City Council’s concerns about the health and welfare of Paramount’s residents, voiced his support for the City’s efforts to address the air quality issue, and expressed his belief that the City will take whatever actions are necessary in support of the SCAQMD and its investigation.

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