The California Assembly on Monday approved a bill that encourages the South Coast Air Quality Management District to work with beach cities on a compromise to tough restrictions on beach bonfires.
The bill compels the AQMD to work with cities and oversight agencies like the state Coastal Commission "to make sure there is no loss of beach access or harm to the local economy," said Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton), who co-sponsored the legislation with Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach).
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The AQMD in July approved tough restrictions due to air pollution concerns that would result in hundreds of fire rings being removed or relocated on beaches in Orange and Los Angeles counties. The rules were to go into effect March 1.
Speaking with City News Service, Quirk-Silva acknowledged her bill's language is "kind of vague" and has been evolving as it has gone through various committees. It now moves on to the state Senate.
Newport Beach, which started the log rolling on removing fire pits due to resident complaints, has already been working with the AQMD on a pilot program that would have pits burning natural or propane gas instead of wood.