Southland Choked by Unhealthful Air Levels 87 Days Straight

EPA Tightens Air Pollution Limits For First Time In A Decade

It was a summer of unprecedented bad air for the entire Southland.

LOS ANGELES, CA — A thick layer of unhealthy smog blanketed the Southland for an unprecedented 87 days in a row this summer. The region endured 87 straight days of unhealthful air, violating federal smog standards almost every day this summer, it was reported Friday.

It was the longest stretch of bad air in about 20 years, according to state monitoring data show. The streak is the latest sign that Southern California’s battle against smog is faltering after decades of dramatic improvement, the Los Angeles Times reported. Some regulators suspect global warming may play a role because higher temperatures speed the photochemical reactions behind ozone.

“This is one example of the close ties between air pollution and climate change, which makes meeting air quality standards even more challenging and illustrates the urgency for addressing climate change at all levels of government in the U.S. and globally,” Barbara Finlayson-Pitts, an atmospheric chemist at UC Irvine told the Times.

Air Quality officials, however, warn not to read too much into the record stretch of bair air. It’s the level of pollution to be worried about, not the duration, officials told the newspaper.

The spell of bad air started June 19 and continued through July and August, with every day exceeding the federal health standard of 70 parts per billion somewhere across Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, The Times reported. It didn’t relent until Sept. 14, when air pollution dipped to “moderate” levels within federal limits for ozone, the lung-damaging gas in smog that triggers asthma and other respiratory illnesses.

It’s not unusual for Southern California summers to go weeks without a break in the smog, especially in inland communities that have long suffered the nation*s worst ozone levels. But environmentalists and health experts say the persistence of dirty air this year is a troubling sign that demands action.

“The fact that we keep violating and having this many days should be a wake-up call,” Michael Kleeman, a UC Davis professor of civil and environmental engineering who studies air pollution, told The Times.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District, which is responsible for cleaning pollution across the region of 17 million people, said that consecutive bad air days is an inappropriate way to gauge progress curbing ozone, that this smog season was not as severe as last year’s and had fewer “very unhealthy” days, The Times reported.

“By all accounts this year is not great, but it’s a little better than last year,” Philip Fine, deputy executive officer for the South Coast air district, told The Times.

Click here for the full Los Angeles Times article.

Photo by David McNew/Getty Images

Plan to Steer Air Traffic over the Valley Hits Turbulence

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Residents in western San Fernando Valley are trying to halt FAA plans to direct more air traffic over the neighborhood.

More than 1,900 residents have signed a petition against an FAA plan to allow more passenger flights from Hollywood Burbank Airport over several San Fernando Valley communities, it was reported Friday.

The group, called Studio City for Quiet Skies, launched the petition in response to Federal Aviation Administration plans to move departing flights on a trajectory farther south over Studio City, Sherman Oaks and Encino, the Los Angeles Daily News reported. The petition was on the online site Change.org.

Residents say the changes would bring more noise, traffic and pollution to the area, and they slammed the plan in a series of comments on the petition, according to the Daily News.

“We object to flight paths that expose residents and visitors, our school children, student athletes and people seeking recreation in the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area, to constant jet noise and pollution,” according to the petition.

“I don’t understand why commercial air traffic is not being directed over the San Fernando Valley’s commercial and industrial zones, or above our numerous freeways,” a Studio City resident wrote. “Our residential neighborhoods are under constant assault with traffic from major thoroughfares being redirected to side streets where people live and children play by Google Maps and Waze. Now the FAA wants to direct planes over our homes and playgrounds as well. Why?”

Airport officials are also concerned about the change, and the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association and the Studio City Residents Association have both opposed it, the Daily News reported.

Patrick Lammerding, deputy executive director of planning and development at the airport, wrote a letter to FAA officials on Aug. 21, noting his office “cannot express support for the proposed” plan, according to the newspaper.

“It is equally important to us that we act as a good neighbor to the surrounding communities that we serve and who support us,” he wrote.

A spokesman for the FAA said in a statement that the federal agency “is proposing to update two existing routes for aircraft that depart off Runway 15 at Hollywood Burbank Airport. The purpose of the updates is to keep Burbank Runway 15 departures better separated from LAX arrivals to the south and from aircraft that are arriving to Burbank’s Runway 8.”

Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Krekorian, whose district includes North Hollywood and Studio City, said in a statement in August that the new paths will “focus more noise over a smaller area, including over schools and quiet residential neighborhoods.” He added that “the FAA’s unwillingness to be transparent about this process and its complete inability to articulate a true public benefit to be derived from the new flight paths wrongly shuts the public out of the discussion,” the Daily News reported.

https://patch.com/california/northridge/plan-steer-air-traffic-over-valley-hits-turbulence

Granada Hills Chamber of Commerce Is Looking for Street Faire Volunteers

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Hello Friends, Neighbors & Stakeholders ~ The Granada Hills Street Faire is almost here and we are reaching out to volunteers who want to participate in this family and pet-friendly event ~
We are looking for Adults over 18 for a minimum 3-hour commitment on Saturday, October 6 ~ beginning at 7 am until 6 pm.

You will be invited to attend a volunteer meeting before the event to give you an overview of the day.
If this interests you, please confirm as soon as possible via email to the Granada Hills Chamber of Commerce [email protected]. Please include your name, your telephone number, your preferred starting time and put VOLUNTEER in the Subject line. Thank you in advance for your participation.

Sincerely,
Granada Hills Street Faire Committee
Granada Hills Chamber of Commerce

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Welcome the New Senior Lead Officer to Our Neighborhood!

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Devonshire Community, I would like to announce the selection of Devonshire’s Newest Senior Lead Officer, Police Officer III Phillip Sellers.

Officer Sellers will be working Basic Car 17A49, filling the position left by retired Senior Lead Officer Jannie Angeles. He was selected from a pool of highly qualified candidates. Officer Sellers has served the Devonshire community for many years. He will be an asset to the Devonshire SLO office as he continues to serve the community.

Thank you.

BRYAN D. LIUM
Commanding Officer
Devonshire Area

State and SoCal Gas Settle Over Aliso Gas Leak for $119.5 Million

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The news of an tentative settlement between state officials and SoCal has many residents involved in a class action suit nervous.

A $119.5 million settlement agreement was announced Wednesday to resolve claims by several governmental bodies stemming from the massive Aliso Canyon methane leak — the biggest in U.S. history — that sent more than 100,000 tons of natural gas into neighborhoods around Porter Ranch.

According to a statement released by Southern California Gas Co. just before the start of a news conference to detail the agreement, the settlement with the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, the County of Los Angeles, the California Attorney General’s office and the California Air Resources Board resolves “all outstanding claims by those government bodies against the company related to the 2015-2016 natural gas leak at the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility.”

“Under the terms of the $119.5 million settlement agreement, SoCalGas will, among other things, reimburse city, county and state governments for costs associated with their response to the leak; establish a program with the California Air Resources Board to mitigate the methane emissions from the leak; and fund local environmental benefit projects to be administered by the government parties,” according to the statement.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, City Councilman Mitch Englander and county Supervisors Kathryn Barger and Hilda Solis were scheduled to discuss the settlement at a 10 a.m. news conference.

The gas stemmed from an underground storage facility owned by the company.

Officials said the invisible gas was flowing for about four months in what is being called the worst methane leak in history. An estimated 8,000 residents evacuated their homes, and people from the area said they experienced health issues such as headaches, nosebleeds and nausea.

A class-action suit involving around 9,000 plaintiffs has been filed again SoCalGas. People affiliated with the suit said they resented reports of a settlement since it indicated that a state investigation of the leak will end even though, they claim, the leaking has not stopped.

Bret Lane, the utility’s president and chief operating officer, said SoCalGas “is delivering on our commitment to the governor and the people of California to fully mitigate the methane emissions from the leak at our Aliso Canyon facility.”

“The settlement will also help California meet its ambitious climate goals by advancing projects that capture methane from dairy farms and waste and convert that energy into renewable natural gas for use in transportation,” he said. “SoCalGas is pleased to have worked with the Attorney General’s Office, the Air Resources Board, the Los Angeles City Attorney and the County of Los Angeles to resolve these matters for the people of California.”

The gas leak, which was discovered in October 2015 and continued emanating methane until February 2016, poured an estimated 109,000 tons of methane into the air and forced an estimated 15,000 residents to temporarily relocate.

Limited operations resumed at the facility in late July 2017 with the blessing of state regulators. Efforts by Los Angeles County officials to block the resumed operations failed in court.

Last year, SoCalGas reached an $8.5 million settlement with South Coast Air Quality Management District over the leak, which included $1 million in funding for an SCAQMD-sponsored health study on the impacts of the leak, although county health officials said that $35 million to $40 million would be needed for an adequate study.

Los Angeles County Launches Homeless Outreach Portal Online and Through 2-1-1 Phone

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Did you see someone experiencing homelessness who needs help? Notice a homeless neighbor who seems to be struggling with their physical and/or mental health? You can help them by filling out an outreach request at www.la-hop.org or by dialing 2-1-1 and reporting any specific concerns you may have regarding the person’s well-being.

LA-HOP (Homeless Outreach Program) is a service designed to assist people experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles County with outreach services. Calling LA-HOP will dispatch a homeless services outreach team to the area. Homeless individuals or others may call the line when seeking help for themselves or others. This program is funded by Measure H, the County of Los Angeles special sales tax increase passed by the voters in 2017 that specifically funds services, shelter, and permanent rental subsidies for people experiencing homelessness.

211 LA is the central source for providing information and referrals for all health, human services and social services in LA County. The 2-1-1 phone line is open 24 hours, 7 days a week, with trained Community Resource Advisors prepared to offer help with any situation, any time. If you are calling from outside Los Angeles County or cannot directly dial 2-1-1, call (800) 339-6993.

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