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Not Until the Coast Is Clear

March 25, 2001

Jim Benning's fine article on the work of Steve Fleischli and Santa Monica BayKeeper is especially timely ("Able to Collect Toxic Residue in a Single Bound!" Feb. 18). The Maine Legislature is now considering a proposal by state Rep. Joseph Brooks for smokers to pay a $1 surchage on a pack of 20 cigarettes and redeem five cents for every cigarette butt saved and turned in. Aside from keeping our environment from looking like a giant ashtray and avoiding cigarette butt runoff into our ocean, this would be a vast improvement to our aquatic wildlife's present-day diet. Would such a program work in L.A.? We'll never know unless we try.

Robert M. Miller

Pacific Palisades

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Benning's use of a polluter prop to promote an "aquacop" has unnecessarily perpetuated an urban myth--that California's auto recyclers typically discharge "black, oily ooze" into the environment. Wrong! The state's auto recycling industry generates more environmental benefits than thousands of aquacops. Without qualified auto recyclers, end-of-life vehicles would be abandoned on beaches, in state parks and on city streets, truly oozing toxics into the environment. Like society in general, we have our share of bad actors, but they are few and far between. Most operators invest significant portions of dwindling profit margins to comply with myriad federal, state and local environmental laws.

Martha Bucknell

Executive Director

California Auto Dismantlers Assn.

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