Officials move to add South L.A. to list of communities disproportionately affected by poor air quality

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A November 2015 file photo shows the downtown Los Angeles skyline. (Los Angeles Times)

A November 2015 file photo shows the downtown Los Angeles skyline. (Los Angeles Times)

Local regulators voted Friday to add South Los Angeles to California’s list of communities disproportionately affected by air pollution, paving the way for state funding to address the issue.

The region received more than 120 of 130 community nominations to the South Coast Air Quality Management District. The agency plans to forward the recommendation to the California Air Resources Board for consideration in December.

If approved, South L.A. could benefit from a bill approved in 2017 by then Gov. Jerry Brown that requires local and state officials to reduce emissions in places particularly hit hard by air pollution.

Under the community-based program, SCAQMD will work with environmentalists to design plans to monitor and reduce emissions in the area.

SCAQMD’s governing board also asked its staff “to pursue additional funding to help support emissions reduction efforts in this community,” the agency said in a statement.

Industrial and oil drilling facilities, as well as truck and commuter traffic on the 10 and 110 freeways, contribute to the pollution affecting the densely populated South L.A. community, according to SCAQMD.

Governing board member Joe Buscaino, a city councilman, cited the “historical injustice, air pollution and health disparities this community has faced.”

“There is so much work to be done, but we are dedicated to doing whatever it takes to make cleaner air a reality,” Buscaino said.

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