Stop Weakening Air Pollution Regulations

Target: South Coast Air Quality Management District CFO Michael B O’Kelly

Goal: Urge the Southern California Air Quality Board to bring its district into compliance with the Clean Air Act.

Air quality rules in Southern California were set to be weakened and board executive Barry Wallerstein ousted by the Southern California Air Quality Board in a recent closed door meeting. While Wallerstein had been criticized by both environmental activists and business leaders, under his leadership the number of days that air quality in the district exceeded federal maximums on pollutants decreased by over 30 percent. In the same closed door session, the Southern California Air Quality Board reaffirmed its December decision to delay installation of pollution controls in six oil refineries across the district.  

These moves come despite the fact that Southern California has some of the worst air quality in the U.S. and has never been in compliance with federal air quality standards. Furthermore, this move comes in the wake of the Aliso Canyon gas leak, which was the second biggest methane leak in U.S. history and resulted in the poisoning of residents of the nearby Porter Ranch neighborhood. Residents that live close to oil refineries in the district have also been complaining that the compromised air quality has contributed respiratory conditions such as asthma.

While members of the Southern California Air Quality Board may claim that they are balancing economic and environmental interests, it is clear that these moves trade the health of the 17 million residents of the district for corporate profit. Sign this petition and urge the Southern California Air Quality Board to do its job and improve the quality of the air.


Dear Michael B. O’Kelly,

As the new executive officer of the Southern California Air Quality Board, it is your responsibility to ensure that the district of Southern California’s air quality is in line with the standards outlined in the Clear Air Act.

Beyond the fact that decreasing air quality is morally indefensible, high levels of air pollution are associated with high rates of asthma and respiratory illnesses, which cost regions suffering from low air quality millions–if not billions–in healthcare costs and lost earnings. Therefore, delaying pollution control measures in polluting facilities such as oil refineries amounts to a transfer of wealth from surrounding communities to polluters. I urge you to reconsider your position on the regulation of air quality in the Southern California District and ask you to move to bring air quality up to federal standards.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Ben Amstutz

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