Environmental Press # 94

Subj: OOG: Fwd: San Diego Waiver. News on Thursday's SWRCB Meeting
Date: Sat, 3 Aug 2002 4:57:37 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: Jon V3
To: Jon V3

Dear Ocean Outfall Group (OOG), dedicated to ending the 301(h) waivers held by the Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD), San Diego, Goleta, and Morro Bay:

Forwarded is an account of what happened at the State Water Resources Control board meeting last Thursday concerning the San Diego waiver. This emphasizes the importance of writing letters to the SWRCB as I outlined in my last email, and also muster statewide support and resources to actively oppose what is happening in San Diego.

Jan Vandersloot (949) 548-6326
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Subj: RE: San Diego Waiver
Date: Sat, 3 Aug 2002 12:30:48 -0700
From: "Bruce Reznik" <breznik@sdbaykeeper.org>

 

 

The SWRCB 'hearing' on the waiver, which occurred on Thursday, was a weird phenomenon. The hearing was actually noticed as a workshop (rather than a formal hearing), meaning the Board could take testimony, but not any action. There were about 20-30 people there from the City (Councilmember Peters, Mayor's office, city attorney, outside attorneys, engineers) and associated industry groups (ISP Alginates, etc.). I was the only enviro, and the only other testimony in support of the regional board action was the regional board's attorney, John Richards, who spoke very well.

Even though no formal vote could be taken, it was VERY clear where the SWRCB stood, with Board member Richard Katz summing it up best when he said, "The Regional Board screwed up" in limiting mass emissions of TSS. (I use the term 'limiting' loosely as the only thing the Regional Board did was allow less of an increase in TSS than the City wanted.) Still, there is no doubt that the SWRCB will overturn the Regional Board's decision whenever there is a formal hearing, though we don't know when that will be (the next meeting, I'd guess). There was a lot of confusion as to whether the comment period is still open, whether the SWRCB could act on consent calendar since there has been a workshop already, etc., and we are trying to work those angles to make sure we can continue to make our voice heard.

At this point, though, the SWRCB's decision is a foregone conclusion (they will overturn the RB's permit). The only question is whether we muster the energy and resources to sue. It is important to note that the permit that was adopted by the regional Board still has nothing to do with the waiver, which has always (unfortunately) been a forgone conclusion in San Diego. The Regional Board's permit only added a few limitations on the City's NPDES permit, including requirements for the City to report on efforts to improve their monitoring and reclamation programs, and to 'limit' TSS emissions. If we bring a lawsuit, it would be over the SWRCB's decision to allow an increase in mass emissions of TSS from 13,600 metric tons in the current permit to 15,000 metric tons, thus violating anti-backsliding provisions of the CWA, as well the the SWRCB's very dangerous language that regional boards must demonstrate 'significant benefit to the environment' whenever they ratchet down emissions in a permit renewal.

Sorry for the long answer to a short question, but that is where we are at present.

br
-----Original Message-----
From: JonV3@aol.com [mailto:JonV3@aol.com]
Sent: Friday, August 02, 2002 11:17 PM
To: breznik@sdbaykeeper.org
Subject: San Diego Waiver

Hi Bruce, I'm wondering what happened to the status of the appeal of the waiver from the Regional WQCB to the State WQCB, which was supposed to happen this week. I could not find news of it in the San Diego Union-Tribune. Was it postponed?

Thanks. Jan Vandersloot

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