Health Studies Lead to Action on Emissions Levels
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) new statewide emissions-reduction plan would still result in more than 800 premature deaths and other health problems because it is unfunded and contains no new mandatory controls of polluters, according to community activists in Long Beach, the Los Angeles Times reports. The plan was approved Thursday by the California Air Resources Board.
Studies have found that children in Long Beach and other industrial cities are three times more likely to experience decreased lung development, and students less than a quarter of a mile from major freeways are 89% more likely to have asthma. Workers at ports and freight yards and area residents also have an increased risk of cancer and heart disease, according to studies.
Health costs associated with emissions total about $19.5 billion annually, studies have shown.
Wally Baker of Los Angeles County Economic Development said recent studies on the public health costs of emissions have been "the impetus for change" in trying to reduce toxin levels.
However, funding has not been secured for Schwarzenegger's plan after an infrastructure bond proposal failed to make it onto the June ballot. Meanwhile, environmental groups are calling for mandatory controls on foreign vessels, and marine business groups said they would contribute $15 billion for technology to launch a voluntary credit program that would require them to reduce emissions (Wilson, Los Angeles Times, 4/23).