Irvine : Council Gives Final OK to Ozone-Protection Law

Despite a plea by businesses to delay action, the City Council gave final approval Tuesday night to the nation's most sweeping ordinance aimed at reducing the use of chemicals and compounds that erode the ozone layer.

The ordinance affects a wide range of products and services, including air-conditioner repair, manufacture of computer components, building insulation and fast-food packaging.

At Tuesday's meeting, several businesses urged the council to delay final approval, contending that the city law is flawed and that more time is needed to iron out some of the uncertainties involving exemptions to the requirements.

The Irvine Chamber of Commerce asked the council to delete the misdemeanor sanctions that can be imposed against businesses and to make the program voluntary.

But Mayor Larry Agran, who has spearheaded the ordinance, replied that the law is "superb legislation," adding that voluntary compliance is not acceptable.

"The problem with voluntary compliance is that you can have voluntary noncompliance . . . and then where are we?" Agran said.

The ordinance bans the use of several compounds and requires recycling of certain compounds used in air conditioning and refrigeration. It allows exemptions when no substitute compounds are available or in the case of small emissions, making recycling or replacement too costly.

Councilwoman Sally Anne Sheridan cast the sole dissenting vote.

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