- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 26, 2017

BELL GARDENS, Calif. (AP) - In a story July 26 about Gov. Jerry Brown signing air-quality legislation, The Associated Press incorrectly identified the bill number. It is AB617, not SB617.

A corrected version of the story is below:

California governor signs bill targeting poor air quality

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed air-quality legislation tied to an extension of the state’s cap and trade law to address climate change

BELL GARDENS, Calif. (AP) - Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday signed air-quality legislation tied to an extension of California’s cap and trade law to address climate change.

The legislation requires stepped-up efforts to monitor and improve air quality around major sources of air pollution such as oil refineries and factories.

Brown signed it in a ceremony in the Los Angeles County city of Bell Gardens. It was linked to Brown’s plan to extend cap and trade to win votes from Democrats who say California’s signature climate change law doesn’t help people in low-income communities.

Cap and trade puts a cap on California’s greenhouse gas emissions and requires polluters to obtain permits for each metric ton of carbon they release. Businesses can purchase additional permits from the state or from other firms that don’t need them.

Environmental justice organizations say this leads to foul air in neighborhoods around smokestacks, leading to asthma and other health problems particularly in children. They’ve pushed lawmakers to get tougher on polluters.

AB617 by Democratic Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia requires local air quality management districts to monitor and report air quality data around the dirtiest sources of pollution. Some polluters will be required to upgrade equipment to newer, cleaner technology.

Maximum penalties for violating pollution laws will jump from $1,000 to $5,000 per day, and they’ll go up each year to match inflation.

“This package, though historic, is only a strong down-payment,” said Garcia, who represents Bell Gardens. “We have much work ahead of us to address regions, like mine, that have been treated like wastelands for generations.”

Executives at the state’s largest air-quality management districts said the legislation fails to provide funding for the expensive monitoring and cleanup plans it mandates.

The bill’s supporters say the funding will likely come from revenue generated by auctioning pollution permits through the cap and trade program.

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