2/18/2013 Comments on dust control measures DEIR due March 18, 2013
Given the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power's ongoing efforts to increase water exports from the eastern Sierra Nevada--including, most recently, proposals to pump groundwater from the Owens (dry) Lake and assorted lawsuits against the Mammoth Lakes Community Water District and against the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District, the California Air Resources Board, the State Lands Commission, the United States Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-- it's no surprise that LADWP might seek to reduce water-based dust control efforts on the lakebed in other ways. Careful readers, therefore, might want to take proposed actions in a recently released Draft Environmental Impact Report with a grain of alkali dust, particularly when the goal of LADWP's efforts on the lakebed is described as "to reduce exceedances of the state and federal particulate matter air quality standards" (rather than, for example, "to meet state and federal particulate matter air quality standards").

The full notice regarding the Draft Environmental Impact Report follows below. Look for a copy of the DEIR at read carefully. Comments are due by fax or regular mail March 18, 2013, so if you don't have a fax machine, plan to finish your comments early.


Notice of Availability of the Draft Environmental Impact Report for the Owens Lake Phase 7a Dust Control Measures Project (SCH #2011051068)

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Report (Draft EIR) for consideration of the Owens Lake Phase 7a Dust Control Measures Project. LADWP is the lead agency under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

Project Location: The 110 square-mile dry Owens Lake is located in Inyo County, California, approximately 5 miles south of the community of Lone Pine and approximately 61 miles south of the city of Bishop. Owens Dry Lake is bounded by State Route (SR) 136 to the north and east, SR 190 to the south, and U.S. Highway (U.S.) 395 to the west.

Project Description: The City of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) is currently implementing the Owens Lake Dust Mitigation Program (OLDMP) on Owens Dry Lake in order to reduce exceedances of the state and federal particulate matter (PM10) air quality standards. LADWP constructs and operates dust control measures (DCMs) on the lake in compliance with Agreements with the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District (GBUAPCD) under the authority of California Health & Safety Code Sec. 42316, legal settlement agreements with GBUAPCD, lease agreements for use of state lands, and other regulatory approvals. The original Phase 7a project would expand and modify the existing system of dust control on the lake by installation of Best Available Control Measures (BACM) (Gravel Cover, Shallow Flooding and Managed Vegetation) on 3.1 square miles of area identified as emissive by GBUAPCD. In addition, 3 to 4 square miles of existing Shallow Flooding dust control areas (DCAs) will be transitioned to a hybrid dust control method using a combination of the three BACM to minimize dust while conserving water use on Owens Dry Lake.

Impacts of the Project: The Draft EIR found that implementation of the project may result in significant environment impacts to air quality; cultural resources; and biological resources. The analysis in this EIR indicates that the Phase 7a project as originally proposed (3.1 square miles of dust control) would have significant irreversible impacts on unique cultural resources. Therefore, alternatives to the originally proposed project have been evaluated including an Avoidance Alternative which would protect significant cultural resources.

Hazardous Waste Disclosure
Per Section 15087 (c)(6) of the CEQA Guidelines, the proposed project is not on any of the lists enumerated under Section 65962.5 of the California Government Code.

Public Review of the Draft EIR: The public review period for the Draft EIR will commence on Friday, February 1, 2013 and conclude on Monday, March 18, 2013 at 5:00 p.m. A copy of the Draft EIR will also be posted Copies of the Draft EIR are available for review at LADWP or the following locations:

LADWP Bishop Office, 300 Mandich Street, Bishop, CA
Bishop Library, 210 Academy Ave, Bishop, CA
Lone Pine Library, Corner of Washington & Bush Streets, Lone Pine, CA
Inyo County Library Big Pine Branch, 500 S. Main St., Big Pine, CA
Inyo County Library Independence Branch, 168 N. Edwards St., Independence, CA 93526
Cerro Coso Community College Library, 3000 College Heights Blvd., Ridgecrest, CA 93555

Public Meeting: LADWP will hold a public meeting to inform the public about the project and the findings of the draft EIR and provide an opportunity for agencies, organizations, and interested individuals to provide comments on the adequacy of the document. The meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 5:00 pm at the LADWP Sulfate Facility, 111 Sulfate Road, Training/Conference Room, Keeler, California 93530.

During the public review period, written comments concerning he adequacy of the Draft EIR may be submitted. Comments must be submitted by Monday, March 18, 2013. Please submit your comments to the following address:
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power
111 North Hope Street, Room 1044
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Attention: Laura Hunter

Comments may also be faxed to Ms. Laura Hunter at (213) 367-4710.

If you require additional information, please contact Ms. Laura Hunter at (213) 367-4096.
Contacts:   Phone: