Court denies LADWP’s request to dismiss Owens Dry Lake lawsuit


In another blow to the City of Los Angeles’ attempt to cut costs and avoid more dust mitigation on the Owens Dry Lake, on Feb.5, the Kern County Superior Court denied the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s request to dismiss the lawsuit.

It was filed for repeated violations of orders issued by both the court and the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District.

Judge Sidney P. Chapin ruled that the LADWP was subject to civil penalties and an injunction for its decision to withhold over $1.1 million dollars in Owens Lake air pollution control fees, according to a press release from the air pollution control district.

“The Court ordered LADWP to pay those fees to the District on Jan. 28 [and the] ruling clears the way for a trial later this year to determine the city’s liability and assess penalties, which could reach almost an additional $8 million.

“The LADWP’s decision to withhold payment of its fees corresponded to its opposition to installing additional air pollution control measures at Owens Lake. In November 2012, the California Air Resources Board rejected the LADWP’s appeal and approved the reasonableness and necessity for those measures,” the news release stated.

“Particulate air pollution is a danger to human health and the environment, and over the past year, LADWP’s water diversions have caused dust storms that violated the federal dust standard on 27 separate days resulting in the issuance of local health alerts.”