Clean Air Month: Breathing Easier in California

During the time I grew up in California, kids in Los Angeles and many other parts of my home state often started their days with smog alerts. Their parents couldn’t let them outside to play. Some developed asthma and other lung conditions that could have been prevented. We’ve made a lot of progress since then, but there are still far too many communities in our state where asthma rates are high and “Spare the Air days” are common.

Each May, we commemorate Clean Air Month, a time to look back on that progress we’ve made in protecting the environment and our health, as well as look ahead to new ways to keep moving forward in the fight against pollution.

California is a place of immense beauty from our fantastic coastline, to our fertile valleys and our soaring Sierras. But parts of our State’s geography also trap and concentrate air pollution. That’s why California has been leading the nation for decades when it comes to fighting air pollution. In 1959, California set the first statewide air quality standards in the nation and we enacted laws to regulate vehicle emissions. Indeed, when Congress passed the Clean Air Act in 1970, it acknowledged California’s leadership and granted the state special status to regulate vehicle emissions.

We’re a forward-leaning state — you don’t become the world’s sixth largest economy by sitting back. For us, striving for clean air, expanding good-paying jobs, and improving quality of life go hand-in-hand. Over and over, we’ve proven that you don’t have to pick one over the others.

For California, there’s no retreat in the fight against pollution. Today, we’re more committed than ever to protecting our people, our planet, and our economy from all threats… including all the hot air that’s blowing in from Washington, DC.

Our state intends to move forward on protecting our air and our climate regardless of what the federal government does or does not do. We will defend all of our laws, including California’s vehicle emissions standards, anywhere they are challenged.

We won’t allow President Trump to ignore the law, or the public outcry, or the very real threat of climate change. I won’t hesitate to protect those we serve. And if that means lawsuits, I am ready. If that means battling out in the court of public opinion, I’m ready for that, too.

I want every parent to know that we’ve done everything we can for the health of their kids. That’s what makes a place worth living in, and that’s worth fighting for.