LADWP General Manager David H. Wright Regarding Eminent Domain Proceedings

Press Release

Statement by LADWP General Manager David H. Wright Regarding Eminent Domain Proceedings by Inyo County on Los Angeles-Owned Land Leased for Landfill Operations

08/15/17

Earlier today, the Inyo County Board of Supervisors moved to proceed with the condemnation of City of Los Angeles land where Bishop-Sunland, Independence and Lone Pine landfills are located despite the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s (LADWP) willingness to sell the properties to the County. The Inyo County Board rejected LADWP’s input and moved to proceed with the condemnation action despite the legal deficiencies in the County’s eminent domain justification.

LADWP is currently leasing the three properties to Inyo County for landfill uses. Los Angeles asked the Inyo County Board to delay the condemnation process to further negotiate the sale. As part of the sale proposal, the City of Los Angeles will maintain water rights to the land, consistent with the Los Angeles City Charter, but continue providing water to Inyo County to operate the Bishop-Sunland landfill; Independence and Lone Pine’s water needs are provided by local water service connections.

As the landowner, LADWP has had particular concerns regarding the management of the Bishop-Sunland Landfill which is unlined, fails to meet current regulatory standards, and can negatively impact the watershed. Since 1993, Inyo County has received over 2,500 violations from the State of California for poor landfill operations. To help address these issues, lease terms for the landfill were written to protect the land and the watershed. Though Inyo County agreed to those terms, it now seeks to take control of the property through condemnation and operate the landfill under its own oversight.

LADWP maintains that the landfill must be operated with the appropriate measures to protect the land and the safety of the watershed. We will continue to protect the water and LA’s water rights regardless of the ownership of the land.  As such, we intend to fully participate in Inyo County’s eminent domain proceedings, ensure proper appraisal of the land, and safeguard environmental and water protections through appropriate environmental documentation. We will also continue to pursue negotiations of the sale of the landfills.

As a much better long term solution, LADWP continues to urge Inyo County to consider the mutually beneficial solution of building a modern landfill that meets all current standards outside of the Owens River watershed. This will ensure that Inyo County has a well-operated waste disposal site, while continuing to safeguard public health, safety, and the environment.

 

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7 Responses to LADWP General Manager David H. Wright Regarding Eminent Domain Proceedings

  1. Chris August 18, 2017 at 8:21 pm #

    “The Inyo County Board rejected LADWP’s input and moved to proceed with the condemnation action despite the legal deficiencies in the County’s eminent domain justification.” (Par. 1) Whatever those deficiencies are, get them fixed! DWP has the personpower and legal backing to nit-pick apart the County’s eminent domain justification. This is a costly, serious, and precedent setting move on Inyo County’s part. I’d love to see it prevail, but every single detail has to be addressed.

     
    • sugarmags August 23, 2017 at 9:45 am #

      Actually LADWP will have little recourse during the condemnation proceedings. Once the resolution is adopted, the suit will be filed by the County. The court will determine the COMPENSATION LADWP is entitled to. Nothing else. In other words, the need for the property is NOT part of the condemnation suit. The need for the property was determined by the Resolution passed by the board. Inyo County has the power of eminent domain. The restrictions on eminent domain in our country are: the property must be needed by the condemning agency and the property owner must be paid just compensation. By the way, other government agencies have successfully condemned LADWP in Inyo County, this is not precedent setting and is something I’ve advocated for many years now.
      BUT – it wouldn’t surprise me to see a negotiated settlement where Inyo County agrees to let LADWP keep the water rights. That’s all they care about anyway.

       
  2. Karen August 19, 2017 at 11:14 am #

    Who is paying for all this? Is this going to add to our electricity bill? What is this going to cost the taxpayer and county? Sounds like Inyo County owes a lot of money and is acting irresponsibly.

     
  3. Larry August 20, 2017 at 7:02 pm #

    They are allowing “Adventure Trails” to rip up the watershed, cattle pooping, peeing in every stream and river and claim to be worried about the Owens Valley water quality?

     
  4. Trouble August 21, 2017 at 5:52 pm #

    Personally, i think we should pull their business licence until they prove they are paying proper local taxes on the water they manufacture here.
    Basically, stick the tax man on them for a while.

     
  5. Low-Inyo August 21, 2017 at 8:00 pm #

    Larry…Yep…..saw a group of “adventure trails ” enthusiasts riding their “toys” through Lone Pine Creek just the other day,while I was fishing the sandtrap….popping “wheelies” and doing the “burn-outs”……followed by some empty beer cans later on floating past my fishing spot….good idea,that “adventure trail ” thing,isn’t it ?

     
  6. sugarmags August 23, 2017 at 9:49 am #

    Inyo County is completely within their rights to pass this resolution and file suit to acquire this property. No attorney worth his/her salt would agree to lease terms such as LADWP is asking for these days. LADWP land has been acquired via eminent domain in Inyo County numerous times by other government agencies.
    It doesn’t matter who owns the land…..env. laws have to be followed regardless. LADWP is NOT an environmental watch dog group. They care only about water rights.
    Watch for a negotiated settlement where Inyo County agrees to let LADWP retain the water rights.

     

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