California's South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) has a new interim acting executive. The district's governing board has selected Wayne Nastri — a former environmental and energy regulatory advisor for E4 Strategic Solutions Inc., mCapital Management and Dutko Worldwide — to helm the agency during its search for a permanent executive. Nastri's appointment follows the early March dismissal of longtime SCAQMD executive officer Barry Wallerstein, who was removed after a 7-6 board vote. That vote came after the board's recent adoption of emissions rules on refineries and other major pollution sources that some deem too-industry friendly.
Nastri is a former EPA Region 9 administrator, serving under President George W. Bush. According to reports, he held a brief position on SCAQMD's board in 1997-98.
In a recent Los Angeles Times article, California's State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles), said he will introduce legislation "to add three new members to the South Coast Air Quality Management District [SCAQMD] board — one public health expert and two environmental justice members." That measure would expand the board from 13 members to 16. According to the article, Sen. de León "will push to reverse efforts by the Southern California air quality board to adopt pollution rules friendlier to industry, saying swift action is needed to prevent a rollback of environmental gains."
SCAQMD is the air pollution control agency for all of Orange County and the urban portions of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, among the smoggiest regions of the country.
"This has been a wholesale takeover, to the detriment of children and families who breathe these harmful contaminants into their lungs every single day," De León said. "We have progressed on our policies, we cannot go backward."
See more from David Darling: http://www.paint.org/scaqmd-names-interim-executive