AQMD Staff Report Proposes Beach Burning Ban
The much anticipated AQMD Staff report has been released. In it are new definitions of Rule 444 and 445: A new definition is added for "beach burning" which is prohibited beginning January 1, 2015 under this amendment. However, using charcoal and liquid/gaseous fuels for cooking at beaches is still permitted. Other types of recreational, ceremonial, or open burning remain exempt, such as those at regional parks and camp grounds not covered by the new definition... Under PAR 444 a city or ... Continue Reading
Fire Rings Fruit Cake Bingo!
Some of you are wondering... has this site been taken over by a bunch of anti-fire rings fanatics? I'm still checking my web logs, but in the meantime, let me fire one last shot across the bow! Soon I'll be back on my meds and riding my bike, then these other advocacy issues will blow away like a puff of smoke. Along those lines, I'm pulling back from the limelight. It's kinda intoxicating to be seen on TV and quoted in the Press. As a 7-year blogger on a variety of topics, that's what ... Continue Reading
Horse Trading Public Health
The story heated up today when Newport Beach Mayor Keith Curry released a letter he wrote to his counterpart in Huntington Beach.The topic is fire rings. The Newport Beach City Council voted unanimously to remove 60 local fire rings. The next step was a trip to the California Coastal Commission to acquire the necessary permit. That's when things got interesting because 4 members of the CCC also sit on their local air quality boards including Dr. Burke, Board Chairman of the South Coast Air Quality Management District. The AQMD has authority for 4 counties: LA, Riverside, San Bernandino and Orange; this region includes 41% of the population of California. Potentially, the AQMD could ban up to 836 fire rings along the coast. Things were going well, as the AQMD issued a draft proposal that would revise their Rule 444 to ban all beach burning. That's when Huntington Beach woke up and jumped into the fray. Mayor Connie Boardman wrote a strongly worded letter of protest and then last week at a public hearing at AQMD headquarters, several HB residents and employees of the HB Visitors Bureau attended to speak their mind. ... Continue Reading
Part III: Unsolicited Advice for Huntington Beach
Welcome to Part III of my advice to HB. They want to keep their 465 polluting fire rings, while I'm an advocate for their removal. Just tuning in? Catch up with my helpful commentary in Part I: Strategic Advice and Part II: Understanding Our Arguments for Removal. As you remember, at the AQMD Public Hearing last week there was a large contingent from the HB Visitors Bureau. Maybe because I was the first to speak, I had the most time to listen to their arguments. Like any public ... Continue Reading
Unsolicited Advice for Huntington Beach, Part II
Welcome to Part II where I offer advice to my neighbors in Huntington Beach who wish to keep their beloved fire rings, even though I'm an advocate for their immediate removal. As you remember, the Newport Beach City Council voted unanimously to remove 60 fire rings here. Meanwhile HB, including Bolsa Chica, is polluting the region with its 465 fire rings. If they are to prevail and keep their bonfires they have some work to do to focus their arguments. For starters HB should understand ... Continue Reading
Unsolicited Advice for Huntington Beach, Part I
There's a battle raging here in Southern California over wood burning in beach fire rings. Newport Beach decided to remove their 60 fire rings for health reasons. Huntington Beach was recently caught napping; do they think that now that a regional agency is proposing to ban all beach burning that they can show up late, with a cute slogan, and win the day? I'm in favor of removing the fire rings and I recently spoke at the AQMD Public Hearing where I got to hear HB's arguments for keeping ... Continue Reading
Commission Recommends Clean Air
In Newport Beach last night a divided Parks, Beaches and Recreation Commission voted to recommend to the City Council the removal of all beach fire rings. It was a raucous session with several residents interrupting Commissioner Roy Englebrecht at one point as he proposed converting the wood burning fire rings to natural gas; the clean burning fuel would remove a major concern of the residents: the airborne carcinogens in the smoke. Trying a different tact, Commissioner Anderson implied that without a full scientific inquiry, the residents' complaints of ash sticking to their patio furniture might prove to be the rubber from tire wear, as an investigation of the area surrounding the John Wayne airport apparently once found. These subterfuges would not deter the majority of the Commission members who voted 4 to 3 to send their recommendation to the City Council: complete removal of the fire rings. Continue Reading...
The Fire Rings Delusion
On a cold night, most people consider a well-tended fire to be one of the more wholesome pleasures that humanity has produced. A fire, burning safely within the confines of a fireplace or a woodstove, is a visible and tangible source of comfort to us. We love everything about it: the warmth, the beauty of its flames, and—unless one is allergic to smoke—the smell that it imparts to the surrounding air... I am sorry to say that if you feel this way about a wood fire, you are not only wrong but dangerously misguided.Just this week UCLA neuroscientist and author Sam Harris published his "Fireplace Delusion". It comes at a good time; just as the Newport Beach Parks, Beaches & Recreation Commission is set to review the beach fire rings. As a cyclist, I'm gulping air as I pedal around town. I'm riding for my health and often ride the coastal routes, thinking the air is cleaner there. I've lived here 14 years and as I do the math I wonder to what extent I've shortened my life by breathing smoke-filled air from the Big Corona fire rings. There are 27 of these smoke-belching fire pits just a hundred yards from my home. No pity for the poor people who live at the beach, you say? The carcinogens from these wood burning rings float all over Orange County, poisoning us all. ... Continue Reading