As we had reported, LADWP has refused to cooperate with the local Air Pollution Control District and its required assessment of the need for more dust clean-up at the Owens Dry Lake bed. LADWP appealed the APCD requirements to the California Air Resources Board and then sued that Board for its required appeal process.
That’s not all. Last week, DWP filed with Los Angeles Superior Court for an emergency hearing to request a stay on the Air Resources Board appeal process. DWP claimed that the ARB appeals process would cause them to suffer irreparable harm in the form of attorney fees. An ironic twist since LADWP General Manager Ron Nichols told an APCD board member that it’s cheaper to hire attorneys than to mitigate the dry lake dust.
Ted Schade, Director of the APCD, said his agency was also named by DWP. The APCD lawyer had less than 24 hours to respond. He did appear in court and the judge, as Schade said, “did not buy the argument that attorney fees will cause the DWP irreparable harm and he denied their motion.” This matter will be heard again on a non-emergency basis at the end of April.
The ARB appeal process will go forward for now. The ARB will consider Schade’s assessment as required by agreement. DWP can introduce no new data. Schade had studied and determined that DWP needs to clean up 2.9 more square miles. In regard to the current skirmish, Schade said, “I continue to hope that, at some point, the leaders of the City of Los Angeles will come to their senses and sit down with the District to craft an expeditious path forward that meets the air pollution laws and requirements. The problem is not going away and neither is Great Basin.”