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Environment & Energy Report

LA’s New Air Pollution Concern: Diesel Generators During Outages

June 19, 2020, 10:01 AM

During a three-day blackout last year diesel backup generators powering hospitals, police stations, and other essential buildings in Los Angeles, Orange County, and surrounding areas belched more toxic emissions into the air than the largest petroleum refineries in the region.

The generators—some of them 40 years old—emitted 6 tons of nitrogen oxides (NOx) a day during those outages, according to estimates from the South Coast Air Quality Pollution Control District.

“The air implications are huge,” said Wayne Nastri, executive officer at South Coast, which is in charge of permitting, monitoring, and air quality planning for an area serving 15 million...

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