It was one of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s most dramatic pledges in his sweeping “Green New Deal” for Los Angeles: “We will have zero days of unhealthy air quality by 2025.”
The goal, it turns out, was not as ambitious as it sounded.
Rather than using current federal health standards, the mayor’s plan relied on an outdated measure of whether the air in the nation’s worst-polluted metropolis is safe to breathe.
After air quality experts criticized that benchmark as misleading, the mayor’s office scrubbed all mention of zero unhealthful smog days from the 77-page document.
The plan now reads: “The City will reach the U.S. EPA 80 [parts per billion] ozone attainment standard by 2025 and meet all future compliance dates.”
Today, air quality officials use the more stringent U.S. Environmental Agency limit of 70 parts per billion to determine whether air has safe levels of ozone, the lung-damaging gas in smog that triggers asthma and other respiratory illnesses.
Will smoggy L.A. have ‘zero bad air’ in 2025? Don’t hold your breath, By Tony Barboza, The Los Angeles Times, May 10, 2019.