Southern California environment news and trends

EPA proposes stricter national limits on fine particle pollution

A view of downtown Los Angeles,Californi


Under pressure from a lawsuit submitted by 11 states (including California) and the National Lung Association, the Environmental Protection Agency is submitting new air quality standards that would restrict the amount of soot that can be released into the air.

As reported by the L.A. Times, the proposed change would decrease the allowable fine particle pollution (AKA soot) across America to a range of between 12 and 13 micrograms per cubic meter of air from the current 15 micrograms. Soot has been linked to premature deaths, asthma attacks, lung cancer and heart disease.

“Through this rule making, the EPA will get information into the hands of American families so they can manage their lives better,” said Gina McCarthy, the assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation at the EPA during a telephone press conference today. “Mothers of asthmatic children, the elderly, folks who suffer from respiratory or cardiac or pulmonary challenges.”


Lawsuit invokes California Environmental Quality Act to oppose medical marijuana ban

Mercer 4159

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There have been a myriad of arguments made in California courts supporting the cultivation and distribution of medical marijuana. But as reported in the Contra Costa Times, a lawsuit filed in San Bernadino Superior Court by Riverside attorney Letitia Pepper is most certainly a first. Her suit claims that the county’s March 2011 ban on marijuana dispensaries and outdoor cultivation violates the California Environmental Quality Act.

 “I’ve actually just found even more evidence to use in my favor,” said Pepper, director of Crusaders for Patients' Rights, in a phone call earlier today. “I have an article recently published in a scientific journal about the carbon footprint of medical marijuana cultivation. It shows how 1 percent of all electricity in America is being used to grow cannabis. Not only is that a lot of greenhouse gasses being created, but it makes for a lesser product,” she explained. “What people don’t realize is that cannabis grown outside is better medically. I’ve spoken to several growers, and they all swear by it.”