Two freshman Orange County Assembly members have crossed the aisle to co-introduce legislation to "protect beach bonfires for all Californians."
Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach), seen here burning up over fire pits, and Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton) say Assembly Bill 1102 will exempt beach rings that a state agency last month ruled must be moved or removed because they smoke out nearby homes.
The South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) board voted 7-6 on July 26 to amend anti-air pollution Rule 444 to require that fire rings be at least 700 feet away from residences and 100 feet apart.
Not based on science, according to the two Assembly members, and in the face of strong public opposition, the amendment set to go into effect March 1, 2014, will affect more than 700 bonfire rings in Orange and Los Angeles counties.
Passage of AB 1102 would reverse the AQMD board vote.
"The SCAQMD has overstepped its authority to benefit a few wealthy landowners who want to restrict the enjoyment of our beaches," says Allen in a statement from his office. "This legislation will simply allow our bonfires to stay as they have been for over 50 years and for the continued enjoyment of all Californians."
While we contemplate how often Allen's party has carried water for wealthy landowners, the assemblyman is just warming up:
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"Beach bonfires are an activity enjoyed by people from all across California, including those who cannot afford multi-million dollar beachfront homes. This bipartisan legislation will stop the SCAQMD's attempts to ban beach bonfires on certain California beaches. It's important that we work together to protect this historic, safe and inexpensive family recreational activity on our beaches."
Adds Quirk-Silva in the same release: "It would be hard to imagine the Orange County coast without fire rings on the beach. While I sympathize with the need to reduce pollution in Orange County, there are several more effective solutions available to us without taking away not only fun and tradition, but also needed revenue for our coastal parks."