University of California, Riverside

Center for Environmental Research & Technology

Leon Billings Memorial Service

Billings Invitation

California Clean Air Luminaries Gather to Celebrate Architect of Clean Air Act

Friends, Family and Colleagues of Leon Billings to celebrate legacy of visionary Clean Air Act architect



University of California Riverside and the Center for Environmental Research and Technology will host a public forum on Friday, May 12th from 11 am – 2pm to honor the late Leon Billings, visionary architect of the Clean Air Act.


  • Mary Nichols, California Air Resources Board Chair
  • Tom Jorling, Former Minority Counsel, U.S. Senate Committee on Public Works
  • Paul Billings, National Senior Vice President, American Lung Association
  • Jerry Lewis, Former Congressman, California’s 41st district (invited)
  • Ron Loveridge, UCR Center for Sustainable Suburban Development Director, former CARB Board Member, former Mayor of Riverside
  • V. John White, Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies Executive Director
  • Alan Lloyd, Former Secretary, California Environmental Protection Agency, former Chairman, California Air Resources Board
  • James Lents, President, International Sustainable Systems Research Center, former South Coast Air Quality Management District Executive Officer
  • Michael P. Walsh, President, WalshCarLines, former Director US EPA Office of Mobile Source Air Pollution Control
  • Barry Wallerstein, UCR Senior Policy Fellow, former South Coast Air Quality Management District Executive Officer

WHEN:            Friday, May 12th
11 am – 2pm

WHERE:           Bourns Technology Center
                         1200 Columbia Ave, Riverside, CA 92507
                          Parking for the event is free.

Based on the current media reports, the future of California’s authority under the Clean Air Act may be at risk, therefore, this forum takes on an added and timely significance. 



The program will highlight stories from close colleagues of Billings recalling how the legislation was crafted from the ground up, much of which took place right here in Southern California. 

 Panelists will discuss the impact this and other legislation adopted by the State of California had on improving our local air quality, and its cascading impact on the entire nation and world. The event will conclude with comments on the work we have ahead, including protecting the California waiver and continued progress towards clean air and climate change.


As a top aide for Senator Edmund Muskie, Billings was a primary author of the 1970 Clean Air Act and helped shape California’s unique authority, which authorizes it as the only state in the nation able to adopt and enforce its own motor vehicle emission standards after first obtaining a waiver from the U.S. EPA. This important provision has allowed California to lead the nation and the world in cleaning up vehicle pollution and driving technological innovation.

 Later, Billings played a pivotal role defending California when the state’s right to adopt more stringent standards was threatened. Over the past five decades, U.S. EPA has issued California more than 100 waivers driving key policy and technological developments resulting in cleaner air and improved quality of life nationally and internationally. These advances include lead-free gasoline, the three-way catalytic converter, on-board diagnostics, diesel particulate filters, low-emission and zero-emission vehicle standards.

Billings’ legacy leaves us all breathing easier. Cars today are 99% cleaner than they were in the 1970s. Airborne cancer risk in California has declined 68% as a result of the state’s efforts to clean up diesel exhaust. Today the air quality in Los Angeles has greatly improved, cutting down the number of air alerts from an annual high of 100 to less than 10 per year.

 Despite these improvements, additional action is necessary to achieve health-based air quality standards especially in Los Angeles and the San Joaquin Valley. Every year the American Lung Association issues a “State of the Air” report ranking regions of the country on their relative air quality. And every year, California cities top the list of most polluted in the U.S. underscoring the importance of protecting Billings’ legacy of clean air.

About the Hosts:

University of California Riverside, CE-CERT:

Distinguished by more than 50 years of high-impact research, the University of California at Riverside has become one of the leading institutions for the exploration of society’s most pressing environmental challenges in air, energy, and transportation. CE-CERT’s research focus is on using technology to achieve environmental sustainability, an ambitious goal that will require innovation in many different areas. From working to understand how emissions impact air quality to developing the technologies needed to improve solar and other renewable power sources, the projects that our research teams are currently engaged in support one or more of the following focus areas: clean air, sustainable transportation, renewable fuels, climate change, and renewable energy and smart grids. Learn more at

Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technology CEERT:

Founded in 1990, CEERT is a partnership of major environmental groups and private-sector clean-energy companies that has been working for 27 years to build the renew­able energy econ­omy.  We design and advocate for policies that advance clean-energy and climate solu­tions for California and the West.  We serve the people of the state and the region. CEERT’s core competence is forging consensus among diverse stake­holders, building suc­cess­ful coalitions around an effective policy agenda, and identifying points of leverage that can lead to a more rapid de­ploy­ment of clean energy technologies.  CEERT’s combination of technical analysis, policy design, regulatory advocacy, and grassroots outreach—and our partnership of environmental groups and clean-energy companies—give us the depth and credibility to make crucial progress in turning California and the West away from fossil fuels and toward more sustainable forms of energy that can meet the region’s needs. Learn more at


Kathy Vang



More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Center Information

Center for Environmental Research & Technology
1084 Columbia Avenue
Riverside, CA 92507
Directions to CERT

Tel: (951) 781-5791
Fax: (951) 781-5790

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