Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Ojai Quarry lawsuit filed

According to Santa Barbara ChannelKeeper

On September 4, 2013 Santa Barbara Channelkeeper and the Environmental Defense Center filed a lawsuit in federal court against Gralar LLC, dba Mosler Rock Product, for violations of the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act at its Mosler Rock Ojai Quarry.

Over the past several years, Channelkeeper and various regulatory agencies have documented significant pollution problems at the Ojai Quarry.  The Quarry is a 30-acre rock mine located on the banks of the Lower North Fork Matilija Creek, a major tributary of the Ventura River renowned for its pristine, free-flowing waters and excellent habitat for wildlife, including the endangered southern California steelhead trout.  Quarry operations are conducted on steep slopes directly above the creek, causing harmful sediment discharges and periodic landslides and rock fall into the creek.
Ojai Quarry - photo by SBCK

Channelkeeper has attempted to address the water quality and habitat degradation issues at the Ojai Quarry for years through cooperative approaches, including direct dialogue with the facility’s owner and repeated appeals to regulatory agencies for enforcement action.  Despite these efforts, however, the Quarry has failed to implement adequate erosion control and storm water management measures and regulatory agencies have neglected to enforce the law.  Therefore, Channelkeeper decided to team up with the Environmental Defense Center (EDC) to pursue legal citizen enforcement action as a last resort.

On October 31, 2012, Channelkeeper and EDC sent a Notice of Violations and Intent to File Suit against Gralar LLC, dba Mosler Rock Product, and owner/operator Larry Mosler. Our subsequent settlement negotiations with the owner failed to produce an acceptable solution, so Channelkeeper and EDC filed suit against the Ojai Quarry today. Our suit alleges numerous and ongoing violations of the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act which pollute the water and degrade habitat for steelhead. Click here for a detailed fact sheet outlining the basis of our suit.

We hope our filing of the lawsuit will finally catalyze effective and enduring action to stop the pollution and habitat degradation caused by the Quarry. We will be re-initiating settlement negotiations with the owner shortly to that end.

More information from ChannelKeeper:

In the news:
Pollution Lawsuit Filed Against Ojai Quarry The Santa Barbara ...
Environmental groups sue Ojai Quarry, alleging it pollutes » Ventura ...
Ojai Quarry cleared to operate until 2015 » Ventura County Star

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