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Clear the Air on Smog Issues

April 27, 1993

Much has been written in the past several years with respect to the air quality being better now than it was just a few years ago. If this is true, why are so many people cursing the air quality and wanting to move someplace where they can breathe air they can't see?

We are also told that many businesses are forsaking the area because they cannot comply with the regulations of the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD). The presumption is that we cannot allow a new business to pollute our air. Also, we have been led to believe that the SCAQMD is slow to issue permits for new and expanding businesses, thus hastening the exodus of businesses or preventing businesses from establishing new plants here in the Southland.

The brief on page 12 of the April 13 issue of the Valley Business Section ("3M Camarillo May Earn More Pollution Credits") informs us that 3M Camarillo has sold its "banked" air-pollution credits to Procter & Gamble so it may expand its plant. The inference here is that P & G will be able to pollute to the extent of the air-quality savings purchased from 3M.

It seems the financial community and the politicians have teamed up to keep the same old polluted air, but from different sources. Also, there is a lively and lucrative market for these credits.

Does it not follow that if I convert my automobile to a cleaner-burning fuel I can sell the credit thus obtained to someone else, who can then pollute to the same extent I formerly did? Carried to an extreme, could I develop a group that will convert to clean-burning fuel and sell the credits to a company wishing to locate in the area?

It seems to me that we will never have clear air to breathe or air that does not sting the eyes and burn the nostrils if we keep shifting the good-air credits to firms who will be able to pollute to the same extent.


Van Nuys

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