Mayor fights to keep fireworks alive in San Diego

The Mayor of San Diego is trying to keep a city tradition alive. Jerry Sanders says strict fireworks regulations could affect the region's quality of life.

Regulators claim fireworks displays are harming the local environment. Mayor Sanders says there is no evidence that supports that claim.

The San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board wants to create a set of regulations which would be the first of their kind in the nation. They would require a restrictive and expensive permitting process for anyone planning a fireworks show.

Their argument: many of the fireworks shows in San Diego take place over water. At issue are the ingredients within fireworks that environmentalists say not only harm the water but everything that lives within it.

Those ingredients include things like aluminum, chlorine, perchlorates, phosphorus, titanium and other compounds that can and do fall into the bay or other bodies of water.

Encinitas Environmental Attorney Marco Gonzalez is the force behind the regulations. He founded the Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to preserving the waters of San Diego. His push has already forced cancellations of shows in the past and threatened many others.

Gonzalez says the Mayor's allegation that fireworks don't damage San Diego's bays and oceans and that paying for expensive permitting process will hurt the region, is flat-out wrong.

The Water Quality Board has said they don't believe a permitting process will bankrupt fireworks promotors. But they've also said they don't consider pyrotechnics to be a major source of water contamination.

The San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board meets next Thursday at the Board Chambers on Sky Park Court in San Diego to hear from the public about its regulations.

No timetable for a decision has been set, but the board's executive director seems to be in favor of some type of regulatory control.

Categories: KUSI