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VALLEY ROUNDUP | Antelope Valley

County Backs Local Air Quality Agency

March 29, 2000|INDRANEEL SUR

Antelope Valley officials could make more decisions about hiring and budgets for the region's air quality agency under a proposed state law that won unanimous support from Los Angeles County supervisors Tuesday.

Sponsored by state Sen. William "Pete" Knight (R-Palmdale), the bill would break the Antelope Valley's air pollution agency away from Los Angeles County and create a new air quality management district in 2001.

"It will give the local district more autonomy," Knight aide Chip White said of the bill, which will be debated by the state Senate's environmental issues committee next month. A green light from county supervisors improves chances that the bill will pass, supporters said.

The state Senate gave the Antelope Valley an agency to monitor air pollution in 1996, but it remained under Los Angeles County control and was required to follow county guidelines for hiring and paying workers. It also has depended on the neighboring Mojave Desert Air Quality Management for staff and services.

Supporters said Knight's bill would allow Antelope Valley authorities to set their own pay scales and write their own job descriptions for the pollution-monitoring agency.

"A system that has 80,000 employees is not quite adaptable to a district that has only five or seven employees," said agency lawyer Fazle Quadri.

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