Antonovich's appointment is causing great concern among the members of organizations who are vitally concerned with the unhealthy condition of the air we breathe. Statements made by Antonovich in the article (Metro, Jan. 6) proved our fears are not unfounded. He warned progress (clean air) cannot be made at the expense of local industry. The word "expense" can be taken literally.
Antonovich's statements have put the inhabitants of the four counties he will oversee on notice that he will not hamper companies by requiring them to spend the money necessary to bring their equipment into compliance. If Antonovich did not rely heavily on campaign contributions for his political survival, we could perhaps visualize a sincere concern for people's jobs. We are always told that enforcement of pollution controls leads to plant shutdowns and loss of jobs, but companies prefer the judicious use of campaign donations and lawyer fees as a more profitable answer to the pollution problem.
The Times Jan. 7 editorial lauds Lents for attempting to find ways to eliminate pollution. We agree that Lents and his staff are doing a fine job. However, the editorial did not point out the utter frustration of having their efforts for the most part thwarted by the governing board and their powerful five member quasi-judicial hearing board.
After months of gathering samples, facts and data, the AQMD staff knows that in most cases where a permit or variance denial is recommended, that the industry-oriented hearing board will overturn their recommendation. The hearing board is not a part of the AQMD agency, and answers only to the governing board. If this hearing board is allowed to reflect the governing board's bias toward industry, the AQMD will be rendered ineffective.
BEATRICE ATWOOD HUNT
Coastal & Harbor Hazards Council