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Group claims insufficient environmental studies in chloride plan

Posted: October 22, 2013 5:48 p.m.
Updated: October 22, 2013 5:48 p.m.

Robert Silverstein addresses the Board of Directors during a chloride level compliance meeting at City Hall on Monday. Photo by Charlie Kaijo.

SANTA CLARITA - The lawyer for a local group wanting affordable clean water has accused sanitation officials of shortchanging the public on recommending ways to reduce chloride contamination in the Santa Clara River.

Pasadena attorney Robert Silverstein, who said he represents a coalition of “Santa Clarita and area-wide stakeholders” called the Affordable Clean Water Alliance, urged the Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District board on Monday to reject the district’s chloride-reducing plan unveiled at the meeting.

The plan, officially called the Final Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District Chloride Compliance Facilities Plan and Environmental Impact Report, is inadequate, Silverstein told the audience during a packed City Hall Council Chambers meeting Monday.

“The EIR before you tonight is inadequate,” he said at the meeting. “We urge you to reject it. At a minimum, the EIR should be recirculated because in its current form it fails as a legally sufficient document under CEQA.”

Silverstein told The Signal in an email Tuesday that the group he represents is a “coalition of business, environmental, property owner and residential interests in the Santa Clarita Valley and surrounding areas concerned with water supply, quality and cost.”

“The Sanitation District has the opportunity and obligation to correct the overwhelming defects in the EIR,” he said. “Our next step will be based upon whether the district follows the law.”

When asked if civil action a likely option for the group, Silverstein said: “If the Sanitation District continues to violate the law, then the public will have no choice but to pursue all available legal remedies.”

He was also asked about ways of correcting the district’s plan for having violated, as he claims, guidelines of the California Environmental Quality Act.

“While the state is not the lead agency, they can, of course, cooperate with the Sanitation District to correct all of the violations,” he said.

“In addition to the EIR’s many defects, the project itself is extremely damaging to the environment and the economy. Far better alternatives remain unexplored.”

Silverstein was one of more than a dozen people who voiced concerns about the district’s preferred plan for reducing chloride that was presented Monday night.

The district board has until Oct. 31 to present a chloride-reducing plan to state water officials or risk fines — like the $225,000 fine issued in November — due to non-compliance with water quality laws.

On Oct. 28, district officials are expected to announce which plan they will present to the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board in an effort to comply with water quality demands.
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt




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