LADWP pulls leases under dry lake air monitors

They’re still doing it. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has, for decades, used its land ownership to manipulate life in the Owens Valley. The latest DWP maneuver cancels leases for land under three of the Air Pollution Control District’s Owens Dry Lake air monitors. LADWP doesn’t like what the air monitors are showing.

In the APCD board agenda packet for next week’s meeting is a letter sent to Director Ted Schade from DWP Director of Water Operations, Marty Adams. The letter says “LADWP will no longer allow the use of its land to support Great Basin’s biased efforts to impose sole responsibility for controlling dust in the Owens Valley on it.” Adams wants the removal of three air monitors from LA land at the dry lake. He says the monitors “erroneously justify the issuance of numerous control orders.”

The California Air Resources Board, in its recently issued decision, disagrees with DWP and upheld that the APCD methods and monitoring are correct and that DWP has to clean up more dust. Of course, LADWP is suing the State Air Board, along with the EPA, the APCD and State Lands Commission to get out of more dust clean-up.

In his report to the APCD board in the agenda packet, Director Schade says that the three air monitors are “used by the District in the mandatory Dust ID program and they are included in the District’s Network Monitoring Plan, which is reviewed and approved by the U.S. EPA.”

Schade reports to the local air board that If the District ultimately removes these monitors, it will run a network of portable monitors and/or relocate the displaced monitors “onto lands not owned by the


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25 Responses to LADWP pulls leases under dry lake air monitors

  1. Chris December 5, 2012 at 5:59 pm #

    Typical. Nobody should be surprised. DWP is a monster from the dark side, who, now angered, will not be stopped. Evil empire, I say. Evil!

  2. Mike Prather, Lone Pine December 5, 2012 at 6:22 pm #

    Ranchers make noise – DWP puts them on the short leash (1 year lease) instead of multi-year lease. In 1980 Inyo County residents passed a groundwater ordinance and soon had DWP water meters put on their homes and businesses. In 2005 the mural society in Bishop sponsored a mural on W. Line St. that the DWP said was critical of them and that DWP wanted its donation check to the mural society returned and that the mural group would not be allowed to use DWP tables and chairs previously promised. A little more than a decade ago I was working on Owens Lake doing DWP funded bird surveys as a biologist. Halfway through the 3rd season I was terminated because I was a leader at the time in the Owens Valley Committee which had started litigation against DWP. In the 1990’s while the mayor of LA was upstairs accepting the decision on Mono Lake with dignity and maturity, DWP staff was down one floor telling anyone who would listen, what a terrible thing was happening to the City of Los Angeles.
    For over 100 years LADWP has attempted to punish any one or thing that provoked them. One manager retires and another just moves in to take his place. Seamless malice; or is it incompetence from such a giant, unwieldy organization? They can be defeated with hard work and solid, cold argument. Endless pressure, endlessly applied. Do not ever give up.

    • Benett Kessler December 5, 2012 at 7:53 pm #

      Can’t count how many times in the past 4 decades business owners and others with DWP leases and permits told us that when they spoke up against DWP policies in public, they were privately threatened that their leases would go way up or end. Others were then afraid to say anything.
      Benett Kessler

  3. Lisa Schade December 5, 2012 at 7:06 pm #


  4. Roy December 5, 2012 at 8:54 pm #

    DWP,, don’t you Adam Henrys get tired of screwing with the people of Inyo and Mono County.

  5. The Water Boy December 5, 2012 at 9:48 pm #

    The DWP is simply Institutionalized Thuggery.

  6. MJA December 6, 2012 at 12:48 am #

    Thanks again Ted!


  7. Trouble December 6, 2012 at 5:57 am #

    I’m actually surprised DWP ever leased the land to them in the first place. It’s like chocking on your own dust.

    • Durrell Coleman December 6, 2012 at 5:14 pm #

      At times, DWP has been fairly cooperative. In fact, they participated in choosing these monitoring site locations. Now they have turned back into whining, pouty babies.

      • Big AL December 6, 2012 at 7:41 pm #

        For years, the local management has been cooperative with local issues, I think it is pretty much the case still .. but it will soon change, as people come into the area from the south land and will not share some of the past management’s feeling of community.

        And this new fit of outrage that the department’s upper echelon is having over their loss, a loss they seem to have totally thought would not happen, the audacity to think they would win because the APCD was being bias against them and they would be vindicated in it.

        This sort of reaction is understandable, the arrogance they possess will be their down fall.

        But this same arrogance will force out any local level of community with department employees and management, they will be forced do the upper echelon’s bidding more and more.

        We are seeing it like the recent incident of not allowing groups to use the meeting rooms, for years, the meeting room at the local DWP office was open pretty much to anyone requesting to use it. This was due to local management allowing it and making it available to the community.

        Yes I hate that they are taking the water like they are .. that is an issue I have with the department and the upper management in the ivory palace in LA. I do respect the local people in the department, they are not the recipients of the ire so many are feeling.

    • Big AL December 6, 2012 at 7:20 pm #

      It’a all about money Trouble .. making side money on leasing their land ohh and water allotments.

  8. toomuch December 6, 2012 at 12:09 pm #

    DWP has always been thugs!! Please read The Deepest Valley. They will do anything to anyone to take all the water there is. DWP hasn’t changed, they just put more spin on things now

    • Ghost of Al Capone December 6, 2012 at 5:34 pm #

      At least I gave out turkeys to the poor at Christmas!

  9. Steve December 6, 2012 at 12:22 pm #

    I am glad DWP has dropped the fake “were nice” and is showing their true colors. That way we will not feel bad when DWP loses their court cases and is told by a judge to finish the clean up.

    I also think it is bad to have DWP in control of the Owens Lake clean up. All the work needs to be done by independent contractors that can be held accountable for the work and they would have a reason to do their best, or not get paid.

    The DWP employees that work on the Owens Lake are of the mindset that the project is a wast of time, money and water. So they will never put their best foot forward and do what is right. And Owens valley will continue to suffer with the dust. I say take the project back get a contractor in place and send DWP the bill.

    • Big AL December 6, 2012 at 7:51 pm #


      Your comments about the employees is wrong about putting their best foot forward, it appears you are saying they are in part making it fail. I don’t think that is right to say of them, when the fault lies in the department’s master plan, the employees are forced to do what is outlined by the master plan.

      To imply that they are not making work, that a private contractor’s employees will make it work .. in this case is wrong .. Even a private contractor will do no better, if they have to adhere to the department’s plan for mitigating dust control on the lake.

      • Steve December 7, 2012 at 8:57 am #

        Big Al I would hope that DWP employees would be doing their best. But if your heart is not in it how can anyone do their best work? For 100 years DWP has been about getting as much water to LA as it can. It is a big shift to now spill that same water back into the valley and lake. They don’t want to and they are pissed off that they have to. So with that mind set they will never do their best.

        A contractor on the other hand wants to do a good job so they will get more work and they have no attachment to the water.

        The lake is open for self tours so please take the time to come see for your self what 1.2 Billion dollars of dust clean up looks like. Looking from the surrounding Hwy 395, 136 or 190 will not give the full impact like being on the edge of a 2 square mile pond full of ducks and birds.

        • Big AL December 7, 2012 at 8:18 pm #

          Steve, thank you for your invite to tour it, I can see it from the highway and I have commented in the past .. how much I believe what they are doing is not working and is wrong.

          My point was aimed at the local employees, they are not wanting the water to go south so much as they are just doing their job. their are contractors working on the project as well, at this time.

          Contractors have the same issues, their employees are only doing what their management says to do, and get a check for it.

          Contractors will only do what DWP and or the ACPD wants them to do. They will not do anymore, or have any other concern other than doing what is instructed of them. The same goes with the local DWP employees.

          That is what I am saying. Your comments about them .. being the department, is directed at the department heads, the main honchos in LA, but you seem to include the local workers in that, that is what I see wrong with your statement..

          I have been out on the lake a few times, watched them spreading the rock out, that they are quarrying out of a quarry north of Keeler. Seems like they can just hydrate the lake again for cheaper, but their concern is evaporation of their precious water. I’m not sure I understand your comment on the 2 square mile pond with birds.

  10. Alice Chan December 6, 2012 at 7:18 pm #

    This is the old arrogant “you can’t make me do it” DWP that we were accustomed to from the 70’s and 80’s. You know why they’re worried; all you have to do is look at the nine GBU Air Pollution District cameras monitoring the Owens Lake every day, as I do; you see that whenever there’s a storm, there’s also a lot of junk being blown up from the lake bed. I saw it again during this last series of storms. It’s disgusting and dangerous.

    • Russ Monroe December 7, 2012 at 8:30 am #

      Spot on Alice! Unfortunately, first hand observation, photos, facts, and any other types of proof are irrelevant to the DWP. What we are witnessing here is unfolding of a political agenda. The agenda master is Mr. Villaraigosa. The mayor has played marionette master to a ludicrous stream of buffoonish puppets that he has installed as heads of DWP in the last few years.
      Silly me; I thought the octogenarian that told us he was going to cover the valley floor with photovoltaic panels was the most ridiculous buffoon that could possibly walk, but given the current management, I stand corrected. Whether one thinks of this as about water, money, or power, even the almighty tower of DWP lawyers is under the direction of the mayor.
      No one in this valley is pulling the strings. We should all focus our efforts on the problem at the top of the pile, Mr. Villaraigosa.

      • Taylor December 8, 2012 at 9:30 am #

        And we think California is mess now just think what California will be like when he is governor. Oh pardon me dictator.

  11. Chris Crosby December 7, 2012 at 6:41 am #

    Well Loved.

  12. Philip Anaya December 7, 2012 at 8:17 am #

    Thanks Alice for the info regarding the GBUAPD dust cams . This is the link We, meaning mostly I, need to support the Pollution District and Director Schade now more than ever . I can only agree with everyones postings on this page and I will be sending some bucks to the Owens Valley Committee. If I am not part of the solution then I am a part of the problem.

  13. salblaster December 7, 2012 at 12:02 pm #

    the owens lake clean up is being done by private contractors mostly by barnard constuction. they have done an enormous amout of work out on the lake, the days of whiteouts in lone pine are pretty much nonexistant. many of the shallow flooding areas are growing grass and tules along their edges and bringing in all kinds of birds and wildlife. last sunday i was driving to olancha and the highway patrol was stopping 18 wheelers at lone pine due to high winds, auto traffic was ok so i headed to olancha and man was it windy but the lake had very little dust coming off it, most of the dust was coming from the olancha sandunes. looked nothing like the picture in the above article. curious to know when that photo was taken. i would suggest that some of you take a ride out on the owens lake and see first hand the progress thats been made, theres good dirt roads that criss cross the entire lake.

    • Benett Kessler December 7, 2012 at 3:51 pm #

      That photo was taken in 2011. All have acknowledged the dry lake is 90% cleaned up.
      There’s still 10% to go.

    • Big AL December 7, 2012 at 8:24 pm #

      I will add .. interesting … this last big wind event we had, I noticed that there was not a good amount of dust coming off o the lake itself, but what was generating a big amount of dust blowing north .. across the lake, was the sand dunes south of highway 190.


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