Sierra Wave Media

Eastern Sierra News for June 20, 2024





dry lake

On June 15, the California Air Resources Board will hear the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s appeal of an order to do more clean up on the Owens Dry Lake dust. Meanwhile, the ARB staff has concluded that LADWP failed to prove that the clean-up order is wrong.

Ted Schade, Director of the Air Pollution Control District, has stated that he evaluated the status of the dry lake pollution as set out in the State Implementation Plan for Owens Lake and determined 2.9 square miles more needs clean-up.  Schade explained that air quality standards are being violated by pollution from that area. LADWP made an appearance in one mediation session and then filed an appeal with the Air Resources Board. At first, DWP filed a suit against the Air Board itself over the appeal process they required.  LA dropped that suit a couple of weeks ago.

In its most recent brief, LA accuses the APCD of considering itself ” above the law” and demonstrating a “pattern and practice of behavior that it has adopted over a number of years to create an aura of absolute independence.”  DWP also dismisses the authority of the  State Implementation Plan even though LA did agree to it.

LA argues its right to appeal Schade’s determination, and they point to the potential clean-up cost of $440 million as not cost effective. LA also contends that the pollution the APCD identified could be coming from a source other than the dry lake bed. LA even argues that the State Lands Commission, owners of the lake bed, are the ones who should address Clean Air Act issues when it comes to air pollution. LADWP’s brief also blames the APCD’s orders for what it calls waste of 95,000 acre feet of water per year to keep the dust down.

Ted Schade has repeatedly pointed out that the APCD does not dictate which of the approved measures LADWP should use to correct the dust pollution.

LA asks the state board to overturn the Supplemental Control Requirements Determination from the APCD. The Air Resources Board staff, in its assessment of LADWP’s appeal, says that the Air Pollution Control District here used reasonable methods and decisions to order more dust clean-up.  The ARB staff says LADWP did not prove otherwise.

The ARB staff also concludes that APCD’s previous orders and methods of clean-up are working to bring dust pollution down.