Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1132 (“AB 1132”) into law on August 7, 2017. The bill, authored by Democratic Assemblymember Cristina Garcia, adds Section 42451.5 to the Health and Safety Code which authorizes air districts to issue interim orders for abatement pending an abatement hearing for non-vehicular sources of air pollution. The South Coast Air Quality Management District sponsored the bill.
Existing law permits the governing boards and the hearing boards of California air districts to issue orders for abatement, after notice and an abatement hearing, whenever the air districts find a violation of any order, rule, or regulation prohibiting or limiting the discharge of air contaminants into the air. Health & Safety Code § 42451. AB 1132 goes one step further. Effective on and after January 1, 2018, AB 1132 permits an air pollution control officer to issue an interim abatement order, without a hearing, if the officer finds there is an “imminent and substantial endangerment to the public health or welfare, or the environment.” Id. § 42451.5(a) (emphasis added). It is not hard to imagine that most air pollution control officers will exercise this new power with zeal and impunity.