Director of the Great Basin Air Pollution Control District, Ted Schade, stated at the November 7th meeting of the District Board that “Every air-breathing person is my constituent and each of my board members is my constituent.” He was responding to Inyo Supervisors Linda Arcularious and Matt Kingsley who wanted to most serve their Inyo constituents. Schade and other Board Members focused on the air quality of all citizens of Inyo, Mono and Alpine Counties. According to observers at that meeting, Inyo Supervisors Linda Arcularius and Matt Kingsley disagreed. They wanted more for Inyo County but did not succeed in their move to expand the number of Inyo County seats on the APCD Board. Apparently benefits for Inyo and not the rest of the agencies represented on the Air Board was the priority for Arcularius and Kingsley.
Other Board members, according to some of those at the meeting, were not happy about Inyo’s priority. After a spirited discussion, the APCD Board asked their staff to analyze the issue and come back with what they discovered. A majority vote by each agency represented on the Board would have to take place before any changes could occur.
APCD Board Member Byng Hunt said, “I fully understand Matt and Linda’s supposed commitment to their constituents taking precedence to the issues involved with the APCD Board, but I do not agree with them. The APCD is a regionally based environmental organization that should be run independently of County politics and be focused on air quality issues of the Eastern Sierra.”
Hunt went on to say, “If they feel uncomfortable with their positions, perhaps they should allow other Supervisors to represent the area. Resistance to their proposal seemed to be the prevailing opinion of the majority of the Great Basin Board at last weeks meeting.”
Mammoth Mayor Jo Bacon was equally concerned. She said, “Everyone is my constituent. Issues like Mono Lake and Ormat Geothermal will come up over time. Things will change.” Bacon said she supported staff analyzing the situation. She said the new Board can consider this at the end of January meeting.
Ted Schade offered a similar view when he said, “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.”