LADWP “done” with dry lake clean up in face of continued pollution

In what some call a desperate attempt to blame the victim, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power will now drag the federal government, state government and the local air pollution control district into federal court. LADWP seems to want a free pass from clean-air laws in the Eastern Sierra.

DWP’s main target is the Owens Dry Lake clean-up and APCD Director Ted Schade. Behind the scenes, DWP tries the strategy of divide and conquer and feeds local officials the line that they can’t give ranchers enough water because they have to put it on the dry lake. No longer interested in paying any more for drying up the lake, DWP wants the court to strike down their signed agreement with APCD and the State Air Resources Board to clean up the dry lake dust. They also want the court to say that the California Health and Safety Code which protects air quality here is violating the constitutional rights of LA people.

LA wants injunctions to prevent paying any more fees to APCD including attorneys’ fees that they already owe. They want the court to declare that hearing procedures by the State Air Board violate the law. DWP’s lawsuit, filed in federal court in Sacramento sues APCD, the California Air Resources Board, State Lands Commission, Bureau of Land Management and US Environmental Protection Agency.

Though there is no evidence to prove it, DWP insists that remaining dust on the dry lake was not caused by them. LA’s main gripe is the money – the some $1.2 billion spent on the dry lake to date. Accustomed to the idea that water from the Eastern Sierra is free and mostly all theirs, DWP seems offended that Air Pollution Control Director Ted Schade has tried to enforce clean air laws and the agreement LA signed.

Schade maintains he is enforcing the laws he is responsible to enforce. LA says they’ve had enough. In an LA press release, DWP says its lawsuits are designed to “force the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District to halt its systematic and unlawful issuance of water-wasting orders to LA’s customers.” LA’s Mayor is quoted as saying the lawsuit is “an absolute last resort.” DWP calls Schade “an unaccountable regulator.”

Mr. Schade has repeatedly revealed that he is only carrying out the requirements of the plan and state law to which LADWP agreed. Schade said LA’s lawsuit “seeks to prevent enforcement of the Clean Air Act’s requirements on its water diversion operations in the Owens Valley. These diversions,” he said, “have created the dried Owens Lake bed, the largest source of particulate air emissions in the United States. Particulate air emissions of 10 microns or less are regulated by federal and state environmental laws as a danger to human health and the environment, with the particulates lodging deep in the lungs, causing respiratory injuries and special risks to the elderly and children.”

Schade said that over the past year, DWP’s operations have created dust storms exceeding the federal standard on 42 separate days resulting in the issuance of local health alerts.

Schade went on to say that in 1997 and 2006, the DWP entered into a “series of agreements to control the PM10 emissions caused by its operations. Those agreements resulted in regulations approved by federal and state regulators that require the DWP to implement control measures that can include at its option shallow flooding, gravel cover or managed vegetation of areas that its water diversions have left dry.”

Schade said that in 2011, the City “repudiated its agreements and initiated a series of actions to avoid the cost of those controls, while continuing to divert water and profit from that diversion.”

Schade said, “The DWP has broken its promises to the Owens Valley.” He said the District will have further comment upon reviewing the specifics of the DWP’s legal action.


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18 Responses to LADWP “done” with dry lake clean up in face of continued pollution

  1. Alex October 16, 2012 at 7:38 am #

    I found this reading the LA Times.

    “Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said in a prepared statement that he supported the lawsuit, which names as defendants the district and state and federal agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board.

    “We have no intent to walk away from our fundamental obligations at Owens Lake,” Villaraigosa said. “Unfortunately, just one agency stood in the way of progress by continuing to issue unreasonable orders on the people of Los Angeles.”

    So much for being the green Mayor. And this guy want’s to be Governor.

    • SierraFan October 16, 2012 at 2:15 pm #

      Governor!! He’s a KNUCKLEHEAD!!!!!

  2. concerned October 15, 2012 at 4:24 pm #

    Just like the old saying goes “LA sucks…the Owens Valley Dry”, and have been doing it for years. DWP is just making sure they can keep on getting away with it and never be held accountable fr the destruction it has caused.

  3. Bob October 15, 2012 at 3:50 pm #

    John & Ken 640 KFI was saying DWP puts $50,000 per employee per year into the pension fund. The employee puts in about %6. On top of this DWP puts about 1/4 billion into the city of LA general fund. And that is why the council always ok’d rate increases

    • jeff October 16, 2012 at 1:12 pm #

      This is totally wrong…DWP equals the 6% employee contribution..

      • Mark October 16, 2012 at 2:06 pm #

        I was listening to 640 KFI, that is exactly what they said. Jeff should call up John & Ken and set them straight, or at least get to the bottom of it.

  4. MJA October 15, 2012 at 9:37 am #

    Killing a valley and its life by diverting or taking its water is murder isn’t it?


    • upthecreek October 15, 2012 at 11:15 am #

      When will the sheeple figure it out.. All these people care about are keeping their HUGE Benefits and pension packages. Nothing else matters to them


      • john Delgado October 15, 2012 at 2:28 pm #

        Yep, so True, it’s always about tha Almighty $$$ Dollar $$$ 🙂

  5. Jeremiah's Alter Ego October 15, 2012 at 8:15 am #

    Lets do this already!

    Man does the Dry Lake look negative and dark, talk about a deterrent of beauty!

    Mr. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa Probably barely hears any accounts from the locals. But then again if they employ enough good ol boys it might be enough to keep us quite.

    Blogging only goes so far. . . .

  6. Sean F October 14, 2012 at 8:57 pm #

    Read the Background section at the below link for those LADWP Occupiers out there:

  7. Bill October 14, 2012 at 7:08 pm #

    Apologies to the few good lawyers out there… but lawyers are absolutely KILLING California.

    Anyone else frustrated by the fact that:

    1. Our CA laws allowed a lawfirm to PURCHASE the rights to sue the Town of Mammoth over the airport, crippling the town forever.

    2. Allow an absolutely EVIL empire, the LADWP, to just SUE, SUE, SUE, their way to more power and control while laughing in the face of the Owens Valley, drain every drop of our water, and destroy habitat while causing major air born pollution from blowing dust. The need to be stopped.

    Upthecreek needs to change his slogan… LGW… Lawyers Gone Wild.

    This is sickening and disgusting. Where is the national media?????

    • Trouble October 15, 2012 at 6:40 pm #

      Bill- I really think the only way to slow down DWP’s agressive court fillings is to sue them back. At least a class action suit would not cost use tax payers anything. And we could actually make money if we win. Don’t you think their actions have affected our health and property values over the years? How about suing them for breach of contract?

  8. Trouble October 14, 2012 at 3:02 pm #

    I think the residents of Owens Valley should consider a class action lawsuit agianst these jokers.

  9. Roy October 14, 2012 at 2:50 pm #

    Hey DWP, why don’t you clowns transport about 50 million truckloads of sea water and dump it in the Owens Lake. That might be cheaper than all the money your going to spend in legal fees. and of course your probably going to lose in court…

  10. Dingo October 14, 2012 at 2:46 pm #

    You can get away with just about anything in this country, if you have enough money to pay slimy lawyers.
    LADWP will not be responsible for THEIR property until their are thousands protesting outside the main office in LA.
    Where are the high profile environmentalists (Hollywood type) organizations and individuals
    Many of them live in LA, maybe that’s the problem. This is serious pollution.
    OCCUPY LADWP, I say!

    • jeff October 16, 2012 at 1:17 pm #

      APCD and the State Air Resources Board are asking DWP to mitigate another 2.9 square miles of dust beyond what the original agreement was asking to the tune of another $500 million …who is breaking the original agreement???

      • Benett Kessler October 16, 2012 at 1:35 pm #

        The agreement states that the APCD must check the actual air quality at the lake bed very year and issue additional orders if federal and state laws continue to be violated, which they do. According to the agreement this is a mandate. Benett Kessler


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