How decades of L.A. smog led to California’s war with Trump over car pollution

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tags: climate change, pollution, environmental history, California, Trump


“People don’t realize just how bad it was and how much better it is today,” said Carlson, who’s writing a book on the region’s history of air pollution.

The city and the state have made extraordinary progress in the past half century, and it’s largely because of California’s ability under the Clean Air Act to curb dangerous emissions from the biggest polluters around: automobiles.

But this week, President Trump said he would revoke California’s ability to set its own auto emissions standards, a provision that gave the most populous state significant sway over the car industry.

On Friday, California and 22 other states responded, filing a lawsuit that challenged his decision to revoke the waver, which is rooted in Los Angeles’s smoggy past. Trump’s move enraged environmentalists and residents who knew just how far that exception had allowed the city to come.

The Bay of Smoke

In 1542, a group of Spanish explorers gave a prophetic nickname to the land that would later become Los Angeles. A pair of ships, flying the flag of Spain and carrying onboard a couple hundred soldiers, merchants, and Native American and African slaves, sailed along the coast of Southern California until they neared present-day Long Beach, where a cloud hung low over the mainland.

“Baya de los Fumos,” they called it. The Bay of Smoke.

The smoke probably came from the fires burning in the Tongva tribe’s Los Angeles basin settlements, Carlson said. The Spaniards didn’t know it then, but they had seen the earliest signs of a problem that would plague the region for centuries.

Read entire article at Washington Post

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