Bill to Save Beach Bonfires Clears Committee

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Bipartisan support was shown this week for legislation by two Orange County lawmakers who are trying to save beach bonfires threatened by clean-air regulations.

Assembly Bill 1102 by Assembly members Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach) and Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton) passed out of the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources, Allen's office announced.

Proposed State Law to Protect Beach Bonfires Draws Attention of Air-Quality Regulators

The Newport Beach City Council, responding to complaints from residents who reside near the nightly smoke pits on beaches, tried to remove the rings more than a year ago. The California Coastal Commission stepped in to prevent the loss of a recreational amenity at the beach but later deferred to the air-quality regulators for science on the pollution emissions.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District responded with new rules that will force the removal or relocation of hundreds of rings on Orange County beaches deemed too close to homes.

But Allen later won overwhelming support in both houses of the California Legislature for a bill that supported access to California's beaches and the continued enjoyment of beach bonfires. The assemblyman then crossed the aisle to join Quirk-Silva in announcing they would introduce AB 1102, which would reverse the air-quality board's rulings restricting fire rings.

"Beach bonfires are an activity enjoyed by people from all across California, including those who cannot afford multi-million dollar beachfront homes," Allen reasons in a statement from his office. "This legislation will ensure that every Californian has access to our beautiful beaches through the affordable attraction of a beach bonfire."

Quirk-Silva adds in the same release that she sympathizes with the need to reduce pollution in Orange County but also believes "we must work collaboratively to protect our beautiful resources."

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!



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