The Associated Press article "GAO Backs Can, Bottle Deposit Laws," which ran in The Post Nov. 23, failed to recognize two of the most important findings of the General Accounting Office study.

In addition to the positive pollution-prevention and energy-conservation benefits, the GAO report revealed through an extensive public survey that more than 70 percent of Americans would favor a national bottle bill (deposit law). It also noted that a nationwide returnable container law would "cost municipalities nothing to implement."

Nearly every legislature across the nation has considered deposit legislation in some form. And nearly every legislature has rejected it because of deposit laws' so-called controversial nature. Obviously, with more than 70 percent of the country favoring a national law, the "controversy" is the special interest outcry generated by the beer and soft-drink industries. To whom should Congress and our other public officials respond?

With nearly every region of the nation struggling to come up with the resources needed to solve its solid waste management problems, and with landfills closing, disposal costs soaring and government budgets tightening, The Post's headline could have read: "GAO, American Public, Back Can, Bottle Deposit Laws."

A national deposit law is an idea whose time has come. Unfortunately, the beverage industry is prepared to spend millions of dollars to delay the implementation of deposit laws. Let's hope we don't have a rekindling of the scandalous misinformation campaigns that were used to defeat a 1987 D.C. deposit initiative.

PAUL B. HENRY U.S. Representative (R-Mich.) Washington