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Reasons to Study Plant-Siting Bill

May 12, 1988

At a recent Glendora City Council meeting there was considerable dialogue on Maxine Waters' bill, AB 3410, which would require cities to conduct a health risk assessment before permitting an industrial plant to be built within a quarter-mile of a school. School districts would also have to consider the health risk posed by nearby industries when selecting school sites.

I have always tried to represent all areas, people, and facets of Glendora, and would never place in jeopardy the well-being of any person, let alone a child.

It is not the concept of the protection of people and our environment that bothers me. There are specific areas of the bill that disturb me, and I would like specific answers before proceeding. Those questions have been asked of Gene Fisher, the intergovernmental affairs officer for the South Coast Air Quality Management District. I would appreciate the benefit of his expertise so I can make a decision I am totally comfortable with.

The words "potential" and "potentially," along with the phrase "potential risk of endangerment," are used throughout the legislation. I would appreciate an explanation of the intent of those terms. And, do the school district and cities have the expertise to determine that a potential risk of endangerment exists?

This bill also refers to the siting of a "potentially hazardous facility." It would seem to me that a potentially hazardous facility could be anything from a dry-cleaning establishment to a vehicle storage yard to an area where weed killer and pesticides are stored.

Under this bill, the air quality management district could require a plant to use any available control measure. However, I am not sure how the district or the bill defines a control measure. The concern is that this requirement would impinge upon or restrict cities or counties in enforcing existing or future ordinances or development standards. I need a proper explanation of exactly what constitutes a control measure. I think private industry would also appreciate an explanation.

The bill would prohibit a county or city from issuing a building permit without first requiring that a survey of health risks be conducted by the local air quality management district. I was under the impression that the Deparment of Health Services was responsible for health risk determinations. Does this mean that an air quality management district will take over the responsibilities of the health department? Is the expertise available at the air quality management districts, or will additional personnel have to be hired? It would be a waste of taxpayers' money to have two agencies performing the same duties.

The bill states that there are no limits to the authority of an air quality district to require compliance with its rules and regulations. Why then is the South Coast Air Quality Management District asking the city and county to review its recommendations? You must understand many bedroom communities do not have the expertise or manpower to thoroughly evaluate what may be presented by a district.

I am not trying to shun responsibility and I support a system of checks and balances. I think cities, counties and special districts should keep each other informed to ensure compliance with all laws.

LOIS SHADE, Glendora City Council member

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