Since the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power announced its lawsuit Friday against the federal and state governments and local air pollution control district, officials and citizens here have begun to assess possible impacts and criticize the mega-utility for its attacks. One of the impacts could be on Mono Lake.
DWP has asked the court to prevent payment of fees to APCD, declare hearing procedures of the state illegal, and to strike down signed agreements and laws on air quality here. It was federal air quality standards that helped set the required water level at Mono Lake during negotiations with the State and DWP. Mono Lake Committee Director Geoff McQuilkin said his group is concerned about this latest lawsuit.
McQuilkin said, “The Department of Water and Power case appears to be focused on air pollution mitigation at Owens Lake, however similar air quality regulations also apply at Mono Lake, which is also a major national source of particulate air pollution as a result of past water diversions.” McQuilkin said that the Mono Lake Committee is carefully reviewing the filing by DWP to determine what the implications are, if any, for the “well-established air quality attainment plans underway at Mono Lake.”
In its press release DWP points at Owens Dry Lake and tries of make APCD Director Ted Schade the villain. Schade points out he is basically an air cop enforcing the state and federal laws and signed agreements over air quality here. DWP’s fights with APCD have cost nearly $1 million in legal fees recently which LA now refuses to pay. APCD has gone to court to enforce orders that LA must pay.