owens_dry_lake.jpgSubmitted by Daniel Pritchett of Bishop

I recently compared DWP’s announcement of its decision to abandon Owens Lake Master Plan negotiations to a “Dear John” letter ending a relationship.  I also posed the rhetorical question of whether the jilted parties (local environmental groups and agencies) would learn from the experience to be more skeptical of DWP’s advances in the future.

We will soon know the answer.  DWP just made another advance, as the Coordinating Committee called a meeting of the Owens Lake Planning Committee for May 15.

Why would any of the former negotiating parties even consider attending?  DWP has already agreed to protect bird habitat — the principal goal of environmental groups.  On the other hand, DWP is proceeding with new groundwater pumping which its own consultants have (twice) determined will create impacts rejected by the Inyo County public.  DWP has also made it clear all water “saved” by modifying dust mitigation at Owens Lake will go down the aqueduct — none will stay in the valley.  Some of DWP’s planned new dust mitigation techniques do not appear to have been approved by Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District (GBUAPCD).  And don’t forget that DWP continues to make pawns of its former negotiating partners by continuing to invoke (now defunct) Master Plan negotiations in its media attacks against Ted Schade and GBUAPCD.

Given these facts, I suggest participation in the May 15 meeting by the former negotiating parties will reward DWP’s bad behavior and advance DWP’s interests at the expense of those of the rest of us.  The fact that the meeting has been called at all is an indication of the gullibility DWP perceives in its former negotiating partners.

Sometimes parties become too heavily invested in a relationship to recognize that it has become one-sided and exploitative.  It will shortly be apparent if any of the former Master Plan negotiating parties fall into this category as the soap opera continues!

Daniel Pritchett

Bishop, CA

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