California's air regulator welcomes two lawmakers to its board

Over the years, lawmakers have repeatedly complained that the California Air Resources Board hasn't heeded their concerns about the state's environmental policies.

Now two lawmakers, state Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) and Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) will have positions on the board, a step authorized under legislation passed last year.

Over the years, lawmakers have repeatedly complained that the California Air Resources Board hasn't heeded their concerns about the state's environmental policies.

Now two lawmakers, state Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) and Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) will have positions on the board, a step authorized under legislation passed last year.

Neither of them will be able to cast votes, but lawmakers hope they'll have a voice on how regulators pursue programs on climate change and air quality.

They've both said state officials should find new ways to apply climate policies to local concerns about public health and job growth.

“The residents of my district who live in the industrial heart of Southeast Los Angeles County and alongside the nation’s busiest port and trade corridors breathe some of the most polluted air in the nation, and too many suffer from poor health and lowered life expectancy," Lara said in a statement when he joined the board earlier this month.

Garcia was sworn in to his position Wednesday by Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols.

"This is an excellent opportunity to increase collaboration between the Legislature and the agency," he said in a statement.