A sweeping anti-smog plan approved Friday by Southern California officials would clamp new restrictions on everyone from managers of heavy industry to backyard barbecue chefs.
The plan, intended to bring air in the four-county Los Angeles basin up to federal standards by 2007, would phase in strict rules requiring use of such clean-burning fuels as methanol and compressed natural gas in cars, trucks and buses.The changes also attack a variety of large and small pollution sources, from industrial paints and solvents to such household chemicals as charcoal lighter fluid and underarm deodorant aerosols.
The plan, prepared in response to pressure from the federal government, was approved 10-2 by the South Coast Air Quality Management District and 16-1 by the Southern California Association of Governments. Both are regional planning agencies.
The votes capped a contentious, eight-hour session that drew about 200 people from environmental and citizens' groups, industry and government. The proposals had been closely watched across the nation by industry and pollution-shrouded cities.
Labor representatives generally opposed tight restrictions on industrial pollutants, which they said could shutter factories at a cost of thousands of jobs.
"I've heard politician after politician stand up and say, `We all have to sacrifice,' " said Ron Sandes, a member of the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers union employed at the Chevron refinery in El Segundo. "I don't know what you are sacrificing, but I am sacrificing my job."
The district estimates the changes would cost $3.9 billion a year, but an industry study by National Economic Research Associates, Inc. found the probable cost was $12.8 billion a year, or $2,200 a year added to the annual cost of goods and services for each Southern California household.
The plan now must be accepted by the state Air Resources Board and the federal Environmental Protection Agency, which has threatened to take over smog control if local authorities fail to act.
The plan's 160 proposed rules would reach into unexpected corners of everyday life to attack smog sources both large and small:
- People would be forced within the next five years to swap aerosol deodorant sprays for manual-pump sprays or stick deodorants. Hair spray, along with other household aerosols using volatile chemicals that form smog, would be banned.
- The suburban backyard scene would change forever with bans on charcoal lighter fluid for barbecues and requirements that lawnmowers and other tools run on either electricity or fuel that burns more cleanly than gasoline.
- Drive-through burger stands might be limited to cut down on smog-generating engine idling while motorists wait for their orders.
- Motorists would have to shell out more for tires because radials rather than bias-ply tires would be required on cars and light trucks. That's because radials last longer, and thus throw off fewer of the minute flecks of rubber that contribute to particulate pollutants. In car-crazy Southern California, where more than 12 million people drive 8 million vehicles about 234 million miles a day, that alone would cut particulate pollutants by 3.1 tons a day.
The bulk of the pollution reductions would be achieved by larger scale assaults on smog sources.
State-required checks of auto pollution-control equipment would be more stringent, and new emission limits would be imposed on diesel trucks and buses.
The plan's goal is to have such clean-burning fuels as compressed natural gas and methane in wide use. By 1998, the goal is to have such fuels in 40 percent of cars and light- or medium-duty trucks, 70 percent of freight trucks and 100 percent of buses.