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Clean Air Plan and the AQMD

December 27, 1988

The Times' editorial ("Spreading Smog--and Doubt," Dec. 18) would have its readers believe that Southern California Edison is opposed to a strong clean-air plan. Nothing could be further from the truth.

First, contrary to your assertions, the Edison clear-air alternative will achieve the same improvement in air quality as the South Coast Air Quality Management District staff plan, but in 10 years rather than 20. Why should the people of the South Coast Air Basin wait for cleaner air? The editorial seemingly measures the stringency of the plan by the degree to which it disrupts the economic and social structure of the region rather than by the level of healthful air quality it achieves.

Second, the editorial wrongly charges that Edison kept its alternative plan under wraps. During the period from March through October, Edison made 14 submissionsto the district commenting on the draft air plan. On Oct. 27 we submitted our alternative clean-air proposal to the district. We believe the alternative will achieve federal clean-air standards in half the time and at two-thirds less cost than the expensive district staff plan.

Ultimately, Los Angeles-area residents will have to pay for every measure in the plan, no matter who foots the bill at first. Increased costs of goods and services like electricity, and restrictions on individual behavior like driving cars, will impact everyone. Despite your assertions, the plan will have significant economic implications. The district and the Southern California Assn. of Governments' own economic study, conducted by USC, shows that just the first of three phases of the district staff plan will result in a net loss of 32,000 jobs, and cost residents nearly $7 billion per year. The study concludes that the cost of Phase One of the plan clearly outweighs the benefits.

Edison's commitment to clean air has always been backed by its actions. Over the last five years alone, Edison's customers have invested more than $1 billion to reduce emissions from its power plants in the Los Angeles Basin. Today, basin power plants put out 90% fewer emissions than they did in the 1970s. They now contribute less than one-third of 1% of the total emissions in the basin.

For our part, Edison will continue to participate in the South Coast air districts' public review process. We will be guided by the same principle that has motivated us all along--to provide input that is scientifically sound and that aims to achieve clean-air standards as quickly as possible at the lowest possible cost to the more than 10 million people we serve.


Vice President

Southern California

Edison Company

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