Lompoc yard

CLAWS Sends Notice of Intent to Sue in Federal Court Over the City of Lompoc’s 15 Year Water Pollution Problem The Committees for Land, Air, Water and Species (CLAWS) today sent formal notice of its intent to file a federal Clean Water Act action against the City of Lompoc unless officials commit to fixing water pollution problems at the City’s Corporate Yard. “The City has known about serious water pollution problems, including heavy metals, at the Yard for a very long time. Compared to data from 2003, water pollution tests in 2017 show virtually no change in contaminant discharges to San Miguelito Creek, the Santa Ynez River and estuary, and ultimately the Pacific Ocean,” said Board President Michael Gibian. “CLAWS decided to take this taken action because the City appears unwilling to fix obvious problems on its own,” he lamented. The Clean Water Act’s objectives are to “restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters.” To this end, the Act prohibits the Corporate Yard from discharging pollutants except in compliance with California’s Industrial Stormwater Permit.[1]  California’s permit is a flexible regulatory instrument that relies almost exclusively on self-implementation and self-regulation.  Facilities are not subject to legal enforcement for one, or even two years, of polluted discharges, so long as the operators are making genuine attempts to identify and fix problems. “We were surprised to find that the City has been self-reporting major pollution problems to the State for at least the last 15 years.  The data tell a clear story,” said attorney Jesse Swanhuyser of Anacapa Law Group, Inc, “officials have not taken the problem seriously. We hope to work with the City to avoid spending taxpayer monies on litigation, and instead focus on getting the Yard ship-shape before rain falls next winter. The fixes in this situation are likely inexpensive and easy to implement.”   Continue reading