Pacific Swell | Southern California environment news and trends

Song of the Week: "Ridin'," by Chamillionaire, for Air Pollution

Chamillionaire cares about ozone.

Okay, maybe not. In fact, probably not, but here at Pacific Swell we use a special algorithm to pick songs we like to listen to and match them with the news of the week. And this week it's all about air.

Start with last Friday, when President Barack Obama rolled back EPA's efforts to tighten up a long-contentious smog rule in order to match scientific research about ozone and its health impacts with regulatory action. Then today in Riverside, California Attorney General Kamala Harris is announcing that the state is stepping into a dispute about diesel based air pollution around Mira Loma Village. This week, the EPA announced it proposes to approve the 8-hour ozone air quality plans for the San Joaquin Valley and South Coast (they're called SIPs - state implementation plans). Even though Senator Barbara Boxer is agitating for environmental groups to sue over the separate-but-related national ground-level ozone standard. 

ir's clearly on everyone's minds - especially as southern California's extreme heat has worsened smog some lately. Which is why this week's a nice excuse to listen to Chamillionaire's Ridin' 5 years after it was a hit.

Most of the way through the first verse, Chamillionaire sings:

Pull up from behind and I'm sittin low.

Windows down, gotta stop pollution.

A wide ranging thought provoking conversation in the newsroom has come to the conclusion that Chamillionaire is complaining about the bad air pollution he's breathing in as he rolls slow around the neighborhood. So even Chamillionaire knows the air needs some cleaning. He's almost implying that that's what government should be interested in, not riding up behind him and catching him doing dirty deeds (for example, the drug use, the pimping, etc.).

They see me rollin

They hatin

Patrolling they tryin to catch me ridin dirty

Tryin to catch me ridin dirty

Tryin to catch me ridin dirty

Tryin to catch me ridin dirty

Tryin to catch me ridin dirty

Of course, "riding dirty" could refer to the exhaust from his slow driving around the neighborhoods of Houston. Or his car dealership, Fly Rydes. Or his tour bus company.

Chamillionaire is an entrepreneur, after all. I don't think his carbon footprint is very small. But the discussions we're having abour green jobs and the economy leave open the question of whether entrepreneurs like Chamillionaire may ignore environmental consequences of their actions at their long-term peril. Even though the EPA is backing off the ozone rule now, the agency's continuing to suggest it will keep pressing on the Clean Air Act.  And in Houston, ozone levels this weekend will be unhealthy for sensitive groups - the kind of thing that happens in major cities around the US, Los Angeles and Riverside included.

Listen to this and all of the Songs of the Week.