Your editorial unfairly criticizes the pre-Senate Bill 151 South Coast Air Quality Management District for failing to attain air quality standards and attributes that failure primarily to resistance from industry.
In the 10 years since inception of the regional district, emissions from industrial sources have been reduced by a higher percentage than in any other metropolitan area in the country. Public exposure to air pollution above federal health standards has declined by 33% for ozone (smog) and by 66% for carbon monoxide, even with the addition of a million residents to the basin's population. As a result, the Environmental Protection Agency refers to the district's control program as the toughest in the nation to follow. This hardly describes a "coasting" agency confronted by a "wall of business opposition."
Obviously, much more must be done to meet air quality standards in the south coast air basin.
The business/labor/public coalition that the council represents supports the district's expanded efforts to improve air quality. It is concerned, however, that under pressure to perform quickly the district may adopt measures which will adversely impact the economy of the region without a corresponding benefit to air quality.
The most efficient way to prioritize control measures for board adoption is through the air quality management planning process required by state law. This allows the district board to consider a list of available control options ranked in inverse order of their cost per unit of air quality improvement. It also requires full public participation. After board adoption of the plan, the staff can schedule proposed rules before the board in accordance with their ranking.