The South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) honored U. S. Senator Barbara Boxer with its first-ever “Environmental Legislator of the Year” award, during a ceremony Saturday, April 26th, at the Santa Monica Library.

“Senator Boxer’s commitment to the environmental cleanup of oceangoing ships will help protect the health of millions of Americans and is crucial to achieving health-based air quality standards in many areas of the nation,” said South Coast Air Quality Management District Governing Board chairman William A. Burke “We commend her for her leadership in legislation to reduce ship pollution and other environmental policies.”

“Boxer received the award for her long-term, ongoing commitment to clean air issues, including the promotion of zero-emission electric vehicles and the removal of subsidies for gas-guzzling SUVs,” Burke said.

Under Boxer’s leadership, landmark legislation was introduced in 2007 to clean up oceangoing cargo and container ships — said to be the largest under-regulated source of air pollution in the Southland.

The Marine Vessel Emissions Reduction Act, Senate Bill 1499, — co-authored with Senator Dianne Feinstein and Congresswoman Hilda Solis — would require the federal government to adopt tougher pollution controls for ocean-going vessels.

Emissions from ships calling at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have severe health impacts, according to the Air Quality Management District.

In addition to her leadership in introducing Senate Bill 1499, Boxer been a champion of environmental and air quality issues, said the Air Quality Control District. Some of her achievements in the Senate include:

— authoring legislation requiring that all trucks in the United States comply with the federal Clean Air Act;

— securing the repeal of a luxury tax on electric vehicles; and

— introducing legislation to remove subsidies for gas-guzzling vehicles.

Boxer has chaired the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works since 2007.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District is the air pollution control agency for Orange County and major portions of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties.