(far left-right) Supervisors Matt Kingsley and Linda Arcularius.

(far left-right) Supervisors Matt Kingsley and Linda Arcularius.

Two Inyo County Supervisors appear to want to take seats away from Mono County, the Town of Mammoth Lakes and/ or Alpine County Supervisors who sit on the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control Board. Why would any of those agencies give up representation on that board?

Tuesday, Supervisors Linda Arcularius and Matt Kingsley will bring up the idea to modify the agreement among the three agencies, based on relative population and responsibility for APCD liabilities. What’s this all about? APCD has functioned as it is for some 30 or 40 years. The organization got the massive dust problem at Owens Lake nearly cleaned up, kept an eye on Mono Lake and other dust hot spots. It is the APCD that asseses the Department of Water and Power for the ongoing clean-up. That’s by State law.

When contacted about his view of the two Inyo Supervisors’ attempt to change the Air Board makeup, Director Ted Schade said, “The Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District currently consists of seven members from four agencies. No one agency or county has a majority. This dilution of political power has allowed the Great Basin Board to make decisions for the overall benefit of air quality in the Eastern Sierra. I strongly recommend that the current balance of authority not be changed. To do so could allow decision-makers to be influenced such that decisions might be made that are not in the best interest of the region’s air quality. The existing makeup of the Great Basin Board has allowed air quality standards to be met in Mammoth Lakes and Coso Junction and soon at Owens and Mono Lakes. There is no reason to change the makeup of a very successful environmental protection authority.”

(Current members:
Inyo County – Linda Arcularius and Matt Kingsley
Mono County – Byng Hunt and Larry Johnston
Alpine County – Mary Rawson and Ron Hames
Town of Mammoth Lakes – Jo Bacon)

Arcularius and Kingsley are in such a hurry, they apparently want this item squeezed onto the APCD Board agenda for Friday. Supervisor Larry Johnston said, “Off hand, it would not sit well with me, especially now that Owens Lake cleanup is getting close, and Mono County APCD board members have been strong supporters of the district’s efforts in that regard.

“If we were to consider such a change, it should wait until the new members take their seats next year. At a minimum, both Byng and Linda will be replaced. What’s the rush? Current makeup has worked quite well for many years.”

Supervisor Byng Hunt said, ” I can only guess that relations between LADWP and Inyo County are so fragile that Supervisors Arcularius and Kingsley are looking for ways to better control their political interactions with LADWP. Population numbers have nothing to do with the makeup of the GBUAPCD Board, which has been functioning well according to mutual design over recent years. I suspect that the honorable Supervisors from Inyo County will face some strong opposition in their efforts to modify the makeup of the Great Basin Board if they chose to proceed.”

More expected Tuesday right after the Inyo Board comes into open session at 10:00 am.

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