The LADWP has pushed back against the shifting target of dust control on Owens Lake, precipitating another round legal battles to ensure the public health along the Eastern Sierras.
So far, the Owens Lake dust control project has reduced emissions of PM10 dust by 90% – this is agreed to by both parties the LADWP and the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District. The conflict is over who should pay for further dust mitigation efforts, most of which is on land that recent archeological research shows was not submerged before the LA Aqueduct was completed in 1913, which defines the area that was agreed to in the 1997 when the dust control project was ratified. So the question is: does the LADWP or the State Land Commission pay for controlling dust on the disputed 10 square miles?
“We have no intention of walking away from our responsibility for the dust at the dry Owens Lake bed,” Nichols said. “But the reality is that we don’t create all the dust out there, never did.”
LADWP’s appeal at the California Air Quality Board is being heard today. So stay tuned for the ruling.