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New California Law Gives Air Quality Officials the Power to Quickly Shut Down Polluters

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Local air quality officials are gaining new powers to quickly stop polluters when they endanger people’s health under legislation signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday.

Children play in a Paramount neighborhood behind a metal-processing facility. (Credit: Katie Falkenberg / Los Angeles Times)

Children play in a Paramount neighborhood behind a metal-processing facility. (Credit: Katie Falkenberg / Los Angeles Times)

The law, which goes into effect Jan. 1, follows years of frustration in communities such as Paramount, Boyle Heights and Maywood — where regulators have struggled to stop highly polluting operations after discovering hot spots of Chromium-6, lead and other dangerous pollutants.

Currently, air regulators seeking orders to curtail operations that violate rules and threaten public health must go through an administrative hearing board. The process can take months, while the pollution continues unabated.

As a result, residents “were being told: ‘You are in grave danger, but we can’t do anything about it,’ ” said Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens), who wrote the legislation.

See the full story on LATimes.com.