OVC, Sierra Club call for dispute resolution with LADWP

By Deb Murphy

The issue of incomplete mitigation projects has reached critical mass with the Owens Valley Committee and Sierra Club.

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The two organizations have asked for a dispute resolution meeting of the partners in the 1997 Memorandum of Understanding, setting a March 15 date. The request follows protocol set up by the MOU when any of the parties feels obligations are not being met. The other partners in the memorandum are Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, California State Lands Commission, Carla Scheidlinger, California Department of Fish and Wildlife and Inyo County.

The correspondence paints an “either/or” scenario. Either LADWP failed “to discharge its obligations regarding mitigation plans and implementation schedules set forth in the 1991 Environmental Impact Report and the 1999 Revegetation Plan;” or LADWP failed “to comply with the MOU’s requirement that the Technical Group prepare mitigation plans and implementation schedules within 12 months of the discharge of the writ.”

The disagreement stems from LADWP’s assertion that the Tech Group never formally adopted the 1999 Revegetation Plan which calls for a permanent shut down of the two wells in the Five Bridges area, 385 and 386. Both wells ran in the late 1980s to dewater a gravel pit and send water to the aqueduct. The pumping “caused the significant vegetation die off at Five Bridges,” the letter states. The wells were shut down, then appeared on a list of new and modified wells last year.

LADWP modified 385 and 386 to pull from deep aquifers and reclassified them as new wells which triggers environmental analysis.

The letter notes the February 1 Technical Group meeting as well as LADWP’s 2016 Five Bridges Mitigation Plan Draft. LADWP maintains at both the meeting and in the draft plan that the Technical Group never approved the 1999 document. Inyo County Water Department Director Bob Harrington did not agree with the statement.

Approval of that 1999 plan would mean approval of permanently shutting down wells 385 and 386.

LADWP Aqueduct Manager Jim Yannotta short statement: “LADWP has received a letter signed by the OVC and Sierra Club requesting to invoke Dispute Resolution on the 1997 MOU.  We are addressing the issue as laid out in this process.”


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3 Responses to OVC, Sierra Club call for dispute resolution with LADWP

  1. Daris March 14, 2016 at 7:59 am #

    Why doesn’t Inyo Co Supervisors make DWP abide by the LTWA and other court ordered stipulations? Why is it always up to OVC, Sierra Club or some other group to step forward to try to protect our valley and not our elected officials that we voted for with the impression that they would try to protect the Owens Valley? Remember your supervisor’s promises and what their vote was/is when it comes to deals with DWP and then vote accordingly in future elections.

  2. Former Citizen March 15, 2016 at 11:56 am #

    Quit voting for hometown favorites. Good thing for TREE HUGGERS or all the good ole boys will be left standing there scratching their heads!

  3. Erich March 17, 2016 at 5:37 am #

    Thank you OVC and Sierra Club for keeping DWP accountable for living up to its agreements!


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