The Times has been in the forefront in its support of a program for clean air, and in seeking commitment to an effective plan that can enable us to reach the nationally established ambient air-quality standards for the region (editorial, “Clean-Air Crunch,” Feb. 17). We applaud The Times commitment to this goal, and we believe that only through a strong public information program can we truly generate commitment that will be necessary to achieve the path to clean air.
The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce was disappointed, however, in The Times characterization of the position of the business community relative to clean-air objectives. We also are disappointed that an editorial policy which has so consistently supported commitments to other major social service goals in the areas of education, health care, housing and care for the homeless, objects when an organization raises the point that committing available resources to achieve air-quality goals, can have a serious impact on the resources available to achieve other much needed regional goals.
The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce has publicly urged the Southern California Assn. of Governments and the South Coast Air Quality Management District to adopt the Clean Air Plan on March 17. We also have requested that the district make available a full description of what the costs of each segment of that plan will be over the next 5, 10 and 20 years. We have urged that the district adopt a resolution of flexibility, which will clarify that any new concepts brought forth to achieve clean-air objectives will be fully evaluated and may be substituted for existing elements of the plan, if the new strategies prove both environmentally sound and cost effective.
We believe that a plan that is estimated to cost $3 billion to $4 billion a year needs to be fully evaluated and debated by all segments of the community. However, we understand that a plan must be adopted and implemented.
The proposed air-quality plan is not the singular province of the staff of a government agency, or even of the air district itself. It is a plan that all citizens and businesses within the basin must know, understand and be committed to. Honest debate about proposals that make the plan more reasonable, more flexible and more effective is the least those of us who live and work here should expect.
L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce