Council takes control of Owens pact amid rising cost

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week Legislation and litigation have led to efforts by Los Angeles’ DWP to mitigate the situation. Estimates in 1998 suggested the project would cost about $120 million, said Richard Harasick, who directs the dust mitigation efforts for the DWP. “There wasn’t much known at that time about what that project would entail,” he said. Councilman Greig Smith added that the costs could have been driven up by the city’s handling of litigation related to the project. But Councilman Tony Cardenas, who asked that the council assert jurisdiction over the contract, said he wants to probe deeper into city policy surrounding the project and the reasons for the rising costs. The City Council voted Tuesday to assert jurisdiction over a $103 million contract for dust mitigation at Owens Valley Lake as officials expressed concern about mounting costs. The council’s unanimous vote on the item – which had previously gone before the Board of Water and Power Commissioners – came as the price tag for the Department of Water and Power project has more than tripled to $400 million. “It has become this place we’re throwing money at,” said Councilwoman Janice Hahn. The project is a legacy of Los Angeles’ diversion of Owens Valley water in the early 20th century. The diversion fueled the growth of Los Angeles but caused serious dust pollution in the Owens Valley as the lake dried up. “I don’t care if it’s a $10 million or a $103 million contract,” Cardenas said. “The bottom line is how does it fit: Are we convoluting ourselves into spending money and getting more and more contracts or are we arriving at a resolution effectively and appropriately?” The contract now goes to the council’s Commerce, Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which Cardenas chairs. He said it could return to the council in a matter of weeks. The project timeline could be affected if a delay is extended, Harasick said. Dan Laidman, (213) 978-0390 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more