But pay me $6.5 million while you’re at it
When there’s a delay, one pays.
For the City of Los Angeles, a delay in the implementation of dust controls mandated by the Great Basin Air Pollution Control District has resulted in a $6.5 million settlement.
According to Great Basin Pollution Control Officer Ted Schade, who negotiated the settlement, the District ordered the Los Angeles Dept. of Water and Power to implement dust mitigation measures over 13 square miles of Owens Dry Lake in 2008.
LADWP had two years to comply.
However, by October 2010, only 10 square miles of mitigation had been completed.
The $6.5 million settlement gives the LADWP until December 2013 to complete the remaining 3 square miles.
The $6.5 million is intended to be used for local clean air projects to offset potential excess dust emissions generated by the deadline extension.
Preference will be given to projects in the southern Inyo County areas most affected by the delay.
LADWP has spent almost $1 billion performing dust mitigation and rewatering on roughly 40 square miles of Owens Lake. Under the new deal, LADWP will be allowed to “transition” three square miles of existing shallow flooding to a mix of vegetation, some flooding and gravel cover. The water saved will be routed to the new 3.1 square miles that are to be controlled. Projected cost of the endeavor: $110 million.
Within the past year, LADWP, the subject of intense environmental scrutiny for its water diversion practices during the past several decades, joined with a consortium of 60 local, state and federal agencies, organizations and various advocacy groups to develop a master plan for Owens Lake’s future.
“The LADWP has worked diligently to implement dust control measures on Owens Lake since 2000,” commented Schade. “Dust storms blowing off the lakebed have been dramatically reduced.” New LADWP General Manager Ron Nichols, who recently took over for former GM David Nahai, echoed Schade’s sentiment, issuing a statement saying LADWP is “pleased that we have been able to work with Great Basin to come up with a solution that allows us to meet our dust mitigation commitments on Owens Lake.” He went on to praise dust reduction and improvements to wildlife habitats achieved during the last 10 years.