(CNSNews.com) - Speaking at a town hall meeting in Baton Rouge, La., last week, President Barack Obama told the audience that when Ronald Reagan was governor of California the smog sometimes got so bad that “people just wouldn’t go outside.”
“And if you had asthma or some respiratory disease, you might die,” said Obama.
“I remember as recently as 1979, when I first started college--I started college in Los Angeles--when I went running, the first week I was there, after about five minutes I’d start feeling a burning in my chest,” said the president. “And it was just me sucking in soot and smog.”
Ronald Reagan was first elected governor of California in 1966 and was sworn-in as governor on Jan. 2, 1967. In 1970, Reagan was re-elected governor of California and was sworn-in at the beginning of January 1971. He served as governor of Califorinia until the beginning of January 1975.
In 1979, Jerry Brown was in the second term of his first two terms as governor of California. He was first elected in November 1974 and became governor in January 1975 when Reagan left office. He was elected to his second term in 1978.
“First of all, it’s important for us to understand how much environmental progress we’ve made in my lifetime. And the reason is, sometimes when we talk about the environment, it sounds like something far away. But we don't realize, we don't remember, what we’ve accomplished already.
“In the 1970s, in California, there would be regular days where people did not go outside. When Ronald Reagan was governor in California, there were regularly days where the smog was so bad, it was like it is in Beijing now. People just wouldn’t go outside. And if you had asthma or some respiratory disease, you might die.
“I remember as recently as 1979, when I first started college -- I started college in Los Angeles -- when I went running, the first week I was there, after about five minutes I’d start feeling a burning in my chest. And it was just me sucking in soot and smog. And now you go there and that smog isn’t there. And the reason is because we instituted things like catalytic converters and unleaded gasoline. And we changed the technologies to reduce smog.”