The City of Los Angeles filed a motion against the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District to ensure the protection of significant cultural resources on the Owens Lake playa.
The motion is in response to a July 21, 2021, GBUAPCD Order, and subsequent fining more than $500,000 in penalties, directing LADWP to begin dust mitigation on an artifact-dense cultural resource site known as Sibi Patsiata-wae-tü Cultural Resource located on the playa.
LADWP says this Order violates both GBUAPCD’s own regulations and the sovereignty of at least one Native American Tribe
GBUAPCD’s violation of its own regulations, coupled with public objections – including those from the Fort Independence Tribe of Paiute Indians, who stated that “the Tribe’s concerns, as a sovereign nation, were disenfranchised,” by the Order – forced LADWP to seek legal action.
LADWP’s motion requests that the California Superior Court immediately instruct GBUAPCD to rescind its order, which is both culturally insensitive and in legal violation of the Owens Lake 2014 Stipulated Judgement and 2016 State Implementation Plan.
Anaselmo Collins, LADWP Senior Asst. General Manager stated, “In issuing this Order, GBUAPCD broke a promise that it made to the public, regulators, LADWP, and the Fort Independence Tribe of Paiute Indians that it would regulate fairly, in accordance with scientific evidence, and with respect for culturally significant land. While we are disappointed this issue could not be resolved outside the courts, LADWP is dedicated to finding a solution to protect the Native American Cultural Resource Area at Owens Lake.”