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READERS REACT: TAKING ISSUE WITH TIMES' STANDS : Note: Many letters writers support our views; many do not. In the spirit of vigorous discussion of the issues, here is a selection of letters that disagrees with us. : Environmental Issues: PROPS. 128, 130, 138

November 04, 1990

As one of the authors of both Prop. 65 and Prop. 128, "Big Green," I find it ironic that The Times cites the success of Prop. 65 as a reason for opposing Prop. 128 (editorial, Oct. 29). Four years ago, of course, The Times was persuaded that Prop. 65, too, was well-intentioned but fatally flawed.

Prop. 65, however, did not, and was never intended to deal with the entire range of toxic chemical problems. It protects drinking water, not oceans, estuaries and bays. The Times complains that Prop. 128 is aimed at "surfing and swimming water"; it's also aimed, of course, at the integrity of marine ecosystems and the state's fisheries resources. And, yes, Prop. 128 co-opts federal clean water standards; they're good, but they're not being enforced in California, and there is no reliable mechanism to enforce them except to pass Prop. 128.

The Times may say that existing "programs do not work perfectly but they work." The paper's own reporting tells a different tale. Is the most The Times can admit about the quality of Santa Monica Bay is that it "is of growing concern?" Does The Times really favor having the Sierra Club sue every single industrial discharger in Los Angeles as a means of achieving federal clean water standards?

The Times' position on global warming is equally hard to fathom. On Sept. 1 The Times harshly criticized the Bush Administration for failing to adopt goals for reduction of greenhouse gases. California is the world's seventh largest industrial economy, larger than many of the nations that have adopted greenhouse gas reduction programs. Many of the least costly and most efficient programs to reduce greenhouse gases can only be implemented at the state level. The Bush Administration is adamantly opposed to dealing with the problem. If the states don't act, the only outcome will be exactly that which The Times feared in its Sept. 1 editorial--an effort by the United States to ignore the laws of physics and pretend that the greenhouse effect is not a threat.

The likely consequence for California: a 50% reduction in rain and snowfall. We won't have to worry about pesticides contaminating our environment if we don't deal with the greenhouse effect. California will no longer have an agricultural industry worth mentioning.

I am afraid that readers of The Times are better off sorting out how they should vote on environmental propositions by reading the paper's news columns than by following its editorial lead.

CARL POPE, Conservation Director

Sierra Club, San Francisco

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