Orange County Supervisor Harriett Wieder was appointed Wednesday to the state Air Resources Board, the powerful body that oversees California's strict emissions control and air quality planning programs.
The appointment, announced by Gov. George Deukmejian, is for two years and marks the first time Orange County has had a representative on the seven-member board, which was established in 1968.
The Air Resources Board, essentially the state's anti-smog agency, oversees local air pollution control programs, sets emissions standards for new cars sold in California and acts as a technical advisory agency for the vehicle smog emissions program, setting passing and failing standards.
In the next few months, the board will be addressing such issues as air pollution controls for offshore oil drilling, standards for highly toxic air pollutants and a major acid rain research program. The board in April will be asked to consider whether to tighten regulations on diesel fuel emissions.
Wieder for the past three years has been a member of the board of directors of the South Coast Air Quality Management District, one of 44 local pollution control districts under the state board's jurisdiction.
"I think one of the big things that was an incentive for my appointment is Orange County has never had a member on the state board," Wieder said.
"And as our traffic and transportation problems increase, there'll be more cause for concern about air quality and control of it. We need to have more of a say in what's happening, what the state level will be regulating and imposing on Orange County," she said.
Wieder said she also hoped to promote a "better working relationship between the local district and the state," since the two agencies have in the past had disputes over which panel is responsible for regulating industrial emissions.
The appointment requires confirmation from the Senate, but no controversy is anticipated. Wieder replaces Tom Hamilton of Chula Vista, whose term expired.