Life just got tougher in the land of the endless summer.
Smog officials, seeking to reduce the pollution created by barbecues, adopted a measure Friday outlawing the use of charcoal lighter fluid and pre-soaked briquettes.The South Coast Air Quality Management District voted 10-1 in adopting the first such regulation in the nation.
Beginning in 1992, Southern Californians will have to forgo their beloved outdoor barbecues unless they use cleaner grill-starting methods, such as propane and gas, electric charcoal starters, paper tinder chimneys and certain wood chips or starter gels - products that emit no more than .02 pounds of pollutants every time a barbecue is started.
Dissenting in the board's decision was Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich, who, in opposing the ban, quipped, "Use a barbecue, go to jail."
The regulation does not ban backyard barbecuing but requires retailers and suppliers to pull lighter fluid and charcoal briquettes off store shelves throughout Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties by Jan. 1, 1992.
Although consumers would not be penalized for using banned products, retailers and manufacturers who sell such illegal items could be fined up to $25,000 a day.
The regulation is part of the sweeping Air Quality Management Plan, which includes more than 100 measures the district plans to impose over the next few years.