Eager to push their latest Owens Dry Lake plan, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power will send their Water Operations Director Martin Adams back to the Inyo Supervisors meeting Tuesday.
Put simply, that plan could accelerate past the Owens Dry Lake Planning Group, would seek to eliminate any more dust controls at the lake bed, and could put more water into the aqueduct. Adams presented the plan to the Supervisors on April 2nd and promised to come back in two weeks.
Adams has also promised that DWP will take steps to protect bird habitat under a Dry Lake Master Plan but only if LA can quit spending money on dust controls. Supervisors pointed out to Adams that they have no jurisdiction when it comes to dust abatement at the dry lake. They also pointed to the Owens Lake Master Plan Committee of dozens of agencies that have spent a couple of years on a plan for that area and need to be a part of the process.
Adams and DWP have not let those issues stop their new agenda. Adams planned to talk to the Inyo Board at 9:30am Tuesday about the DWP plan, even though the Supervisors do not have the power to approve it. Adams is apparently seeking political sway from the Board. Two of its members sit on the APCD Board. All of this is happening against the backdrop of a major lawsuit filed by DWP to try to eliminate their dust control responsibilities at the dry lake.
Individual supervisors have said they want some confirmation that if water is saved at the lake bed, it will stay in the Owens Valley for ranchers and other uses. Sources from within the Owens Lake Master Plan group say Adams and other DWP officials have made it clear in the past that saved water will go down the aqueduct, not stay in the Owens Valley.
Air Pollution Control District Director Ted Schade has said that whatever activity DWP engages in, they must comply with “local, state and federal air quality requirements.” After Adams had earlier revealed his new dry lake plan, Schade said, “The Master Plan process or any project does not supersede the Great Basin requirements over air pollution.”