Council OKs Deal to Curb Owens Lake Dust
Declaring it a historic moment, the Los Angeles City Council approved a deal Friday aimed at decreasing air pollution in the Owens Valley.
The council’s unanimous action, with 10 members present, culminates a decades-long debate over Owens Lake that has focused mainly on how much the city should do to stop dust from the Inyo County lake bed from polluting the air.
Councilwoman Ruth Galanter, who championed the deal within the council, said it shows that both sides--the city and the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District--finally negotiated in good faith. “The hardest part of negotiating this was overcoming the suspicion on both sides,” she said.
Under the deal, which still must be approved by the Great Basin board and the California Air Resources Board, 22 1/2 square miles of the lake bed will be undergo dust control treatment by 2006--or as much is necessary to bring the particle pollution down to levels that meet federal standards. For their part, Owens Valley air quality officials agreed to scale back the improvements they had sought and allow them to be phased in gradually. Owens Lake is by far the single largest source of particle air pollution in the United States.