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Countywide : Talks on Utility’s Emissions Criticized

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Ventura County Supervisor John K. Flynn has come under criticism from a local environmental group for suggesting that county representatives negotiate an anti-pollution rule change with Southern California Edison Co.

The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote June 4 on a revision to an air pollution control rule that would require the utility company to cut emissions by 90% at its two plants in Oxnard.

However, representatives for Southern California Edison Co. have opposed that rule, saying the company can reduce its own pollution using less restrictive methods.

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In a letter to his fellow supervisors, Flynn has suggested that a “consensus-building committee” be formed to address the dispute. He also proposes that the utility company hire a professional negotiator to head meetings of the committee, which would include representatives of the Board of Supervisors, an elected city official, environmentalists and industry representatives.

Pat Baggerly, of the Environmental Coalition of Ventura County, criticized Flynn for trying to get a consensus more than two years after the revised anti-pollution rule was first proposed.

“If he wanted consensus he should have been in the process from the beginning,” she said.

Flynn’s consensus-building plan would delay for a month a final vote on the anti-pollution rule.

Neil Moyer, president of the environmental group, said he is concerned that the rule would be watered down under Flynn’s plan. “The only reason for this is to alter or dilute this,” he said.

Flynn rejected the criticism, saying he was among those who had initially suggested the revised anti-pollution rule for the utility company.

In addition, he said the consensus-building approach could result in finding another way to reduce pollution by the same amounts and still address the concerns of the utility company.

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