Policy Brief

Clearing the Air in California

California has made tremendous progress on air pollution during the last few decades, but still faces two major air quality challenges. Parts of the San Joaquin Valley and South Coast exceed federal standards for ozone and particulate matter by a large margin. Both areas are in danger of missing federal deadlines for meeting air pollution standards.

California can meet these challenges. Unfortunately, California lawmakers and regulators have often pursued unneces-sarily expensive and even counterproductive policies, while failing to exploit cost-effective pollution reduction opportunities. This brie?ng paper summarizes the air pollution situation in the San Joaquin Valley (SJV) and South Coast (SC), recommends policies for achieving cleaner air more quickly and more cheaply than current policies, and assesses the political viability of the recommended approaches.


Adrian Moore

Adrian Moore, Ph.D., is vice president of policy at Reason Foundation, a non-profit think tank advancing free minds and free markets.

Joel Schwartz is a Senior Fellow in the Environment Program at Reason Foundation. Before joining Reason, Joel was the Executive Officer of the California Inspection and Main-tenance Review Committee, the state agency charged with evaluating California's Smog Check program and advising the legislature and governor on Smog Check policy. Joel previously worked as a Senior Policy Analyst with the Legislative Analyst's Office in Sacramento, con-sulted for the RAND Corporation and the South Coast Air Quality Management District, and served as the first Staff Scientist at the Coalition for Clean Air, in Los Angeles. Joel earned a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry from Cornell Uni-versity and a Master of Science in Planetary Science from the California Institute of Technology. He lives in Sacra-mento, California.