The defeat of AB 521, which Assemblywoman Sally Tanner (D-Baldwin Park), amended on May 8 and which would have directly overseen ground-water cleanup of the San Gabriel Valley Superfund site, is a loss for the people of this basin. The Main San Gabriel Basin Watermaster's efforts to kill AB 521 found their point man with Assemblyman Richard Mountjoy (R-Monrovia).
The long-term goal is to have an established authority that would be able to manage the complex environmental problem of a comprehensive ground-water cleanup. This authority must ultimately be responsive and accountable to the public. We need a local authority with broad powers and the true commitment to assert leadership and initiative to aggressively move cleanup of contaminated ground water.
Senator Art Torres' (D-Los Angeles) Senate Bill 52 is moving its way through the Assembly Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee chaired by Mrs. Tanner. The creation of this new agency is critical to oversee an intricate adjudicated system of private purveyors and local water districts with jurisdiction over the basin.
Our ground water is a natural resource, which should be protected from further spread of contamination; we can no longer afford to wait.
I urge support of Senate Bill 52. Hopefully, the Watermaster's intense lobbying efforts, which killed AB 521, will be seen for what they are, a misguided effort to continue business as usual. It is time to back off, and let SB 52 proceed through the legislative process and continue through to law.
CAROL A. MONTANO
Director, San Gabriel Valley
Municipal Water District, Division V