(From L to R) Councilman Tom LaBonge, interim DWP GM Jim McDaniel, DWP board chair Mel Levine, nominee for DWP GM Marcie Edwards and Mayor Eric Garcetti on Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014 as Edwards' nomination was announced.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s nominated Anaheim City Manager Marcie Edwards to be the next general manager of the city's Department of Water and Power. If confirmed, Edwards, who also served as chief of Anaheim Public Utilities for 13 years, would be the first woman to hold DWP's top job.
Garcetti praised Edwards for her toughness and expertise as he characterized DWP as a department in need of reform. The mayor has said that he wants the nation's largest public utility to be accountable to the people who pay for the water and power it provides. In her first public comments as nominee, Edwards said she’s ready to do that.
"In my discussions with the mayor, he has made the mission at hand abundantly clear," Edwards said. "To run this department like a business and leave politics at the door, and that is a mission I would gladly accept."
Outgoing DWP general manager Ron Nichols says he's cooperated with a city audit of how two nonprofit trusts spent ratepayer money.
Ron Nichols, the outgoing head of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, denied in an interview with KPCC that his departure was linked to controversy over $40 million in public money given to two nonprofit trusts and added that it "dumbfounds" him that the DWP labor union is fighting a request to disclose the trusts' financial records.
On Wednesday morning, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office said it was working with the city controller to get the financial records for the two trusts. But the D.A. has not opened a formal investigation.
Nichols, the head of the nation’s largest public utility, is stepping down Friday; he has been General Manager of the DWP for three years. Under his tenure, the agency moved to embrace renewables and end the city’s reliance on coal-fired power, which contributes to greenhouse gases.
SCAQMD Executive Officer Barry Wallerstein speaks to residents during a town hall meeting discussing recent findings from air monitoring and enforcement efforts related to AllenCo Energy, Inc. in the University Park. The meeting was hosted by the South Coast Air Quality Management District on Wednesday at Mount St. Mary's College.
The operator of a South Los Angeles oil production facility says it will respond to a notice of violations issued by Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday.
Federal regulators issued a press release and a copy of the violation notice, in which the EPA alleges that AllenCo’s University Park facility failed to meet Clean Air and Clean Water Act requirements.
“We saw the press release yesterday from EPA,” said Peter Wittingham, a spokesman for the company. “The actual notice was mailed to AllenCo, so as of today they have received it.”
Wittingham characterized the notice of violations as “administrative in nature.”
“They are all frankly record keeping, inspections or paperwork filing [violations],” he said. “But the company will definitely respond to them promptly and get that information to the EPA.”
An employee wearing a breathing mask works at Exide Technologies.
Air quality regulators have filed a lawsuit seeking up to $40 million dollars in civil penalties against a controversial lead battery recycling facility in Vernon.
The South Coast Air Quality Management District alleges Exide Technologies has committed numerous air pollution violations linked to lead and arsenic emissions. In the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, attorneys for AQMD allege repeated violations of the state's Health and Safety Code. The violations carry penalties of between $10,000 and $40,000 apiece for each day the violations occurred.
In a statement, AQMD executive officer Barry Wallerstein said the emissions have exposed more than 100,000 households around the facility to what he called "an unacceptable cancer risk."
The lawsuit comes nearly a week after the AQMD's governing board adopted new regulations limiting arsenic emissions from lead-acid battery plants. The agency is also seeking authority to stop smelting operations at Exide until it revamps its air pollution control systems.
A representative from Exide said the company is reviewing the lawsuit.
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) calls on AllenCo to halt operations while the EPA investigates claims of health impacts from fumes at its University Park facility.
Federal environmental regulators have found that the Allenco oil facility in South Los Angeles has violated clean air and water laws.
Some officials with the Environmental Protection Agency got dizzy and nauseous while touring the company's oil pumping facility in the University Park neighborhood last October.
Now the EPA has issued a formal notice of violation to the company, alleging it has failed to meet requirements of the the federal Clean Water and Clean Air Acts.
Upon investigation, EPA officials found that Allenco didn’t have a proper plan in place to protect local waters in the event of an oil spill. EPA also alleges that Allenco has offered no evidence that it has tested pressure vessels, tanks and methane detectors necessary for keeping the facility safe.
Allenco must now answer the notice of violation in writing and tell the EPA whether it will fix the problems.