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.