We have become aware of a very serious situation on the Lower Owens River. Apparently last Sunday, July 21st, or early Monday, July 22nd, extensive amounts of water were released into the Lower Owens River resulting in fish die off and flooding.
The odor of Hydrogen Sulfide was so bad that Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District was contacted to monitor levels. As far as we know, the official line from LADWP is that this is “routine maintenance”. If that is so, why wasn’t CEQA followed? This is a violation of the LORP.
As of this morning, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has issued no press release regarding this situation on their website. The Inyo County Water Department states that the situation is “very bad”. Our information is that the Water Department was not informed about this “routine maintenance”. We are not aware of any action that is being taken by the Inyo County Water Department to address this situation with LADWP.
There are lots of questions and no answers. At the very least, this is a very serious violation of CEQA guidelines and Fish & Game regulations. Was this ineptitude or a flagrant violation of environmental laws? There is no excuse for ineptitude for an entity that has an annual budget of almost 900 million dollars!
Hopefully our Inyo County Supervisors will be asking questions, and our Inyo County Water Department will be investigating. Please call them and express your concern.
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