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Glendale Fears Air Rules Could Hike Power Cost

July 27, 1989|MARTHA L. WILLMAN | Times Staff Writer

Stringent new air quality regulations on electrical power production in the Los Angeles Basin could cause record increases in utility rates to consumers, Glendale city officials warned this week.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District next week is expected to adopt rules that could force Glendale to double the city's bonded indebtedness by $50 million and boost residential electric rates by 13.6%, according to a report presented Tuesday to the Glendale City Council by W. E. Cameron, city public service director.

Mayor Jerold Milner accused the district of attempting "to become a super government" by imposing rules that may force the city to abandon its power production plants altogether.

Growing Animosity

The criticism demonstrated an apparent growing animosity among officials in Glendale and other cities over the state agency's efforts to clear the air in Los Angeles.

Glendale Councilman Carl Raggio said Tuesday: "Sometime this tea party is going to have to have some different people sit at the table. We can't let the Tom Haydens of the world continue to be responsible."

The rules scheduled to be adopted at a AQMD hearing Aug. 4 would require all electrical producers to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions from gas turbine engines and steam boilers by installing expensive catalytic reduction equipment, Cameron said.

The new equipment would cost Glendale more than $50.4 million--double the city's total present debt of $50 million, said Brian Butler, city finance director.

The rule would apply to Glendale, Burbank and Pasadena--which produce a relatively small amount of supplemental electrical power--as well as to the giant Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the Southern California Edison Co.

Glendale officials said they are considering abandoning the city's power plant or joining Burbank and Pasadena to develop a new plant outside the AQMD's jurisdiction.

Review Energy Policy

"We might have to review our entire energy policy before we spend the money," Cameron said.

However, air quality district officials said the proposed rules on power production are part of a wide-ranging plan to reduce nitrogen oxide levels in the basin, which they said is the last region in the nation to meet federal ambient air quality standards.

District spokesman Tom Eichhorn said the cost of the proposed new rules can be measured in two ways: Residents can "either pay for it with clean air or pay for it with their lungs."

Steven A. Broiles, an attorney representing Glendale, Burbank and Pasadena in their fight with the district, called the proposed new regulations "the most expensive that the South Coast Air Quality Management District has ever adopted." He maintains that they are unworkable, unfeasible and unnecessary as a solution to air-pollution problems.

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