The Times' criticism of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power regarding Owens Lake rests on faulty premises (editorial, June 20). DWP's decision to appeal the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District's budget is not based upon a lack of understanding of or desire to solve the air-quality problem. DWP decided to use the administrative processes that are available to seek an effective use of its customers' funds and an open, science-based process that will lead to a solution to the problem.
Since 1983 Los Angeles has paid over $20 million to the district to research and mitigate the occasional dust problems associated with the unique Owens Lake bed. Now the district wants to continue that research and expand its staff. Yet at the same time it is preparing to order a massive project, based on dubious science, that is unlikely to solve the problem. The assertion that federal law requires the dust problem to be settled by 2001 is incorrect. Section 188(f) of the Clean Air Act provides the time necessary to evaluate the appropriateness and feasibility of proposed control measures for such intractable problems.