On this week’s San Diego Explained, NBC 7 San Diego’s Monica Dean and Voice of San Diego’s Ry Rivard pore over the problems with trying to regulate stormwater pollution.
It’s still too soon to know if the drought is truly over. We can’t predict the future, for one thing. Nor can we agree on what is meant by “drought.” President-elect Donald Trump, the California Department of Water Resources, the U.S. Drought Monitor and some top climate scientists all have different definitions.
Jerry Williams self-reported stormwater pollution from his business to the state, as required by law. Environmental groups sued over the reports, and as the legal fight dragged on, Williams closed shop. Meanwhile, other businesses flout the law, don’t do the monitoring and likely make more in profit.
In recent years, San Diego water officials weren’t even looking at paperwork that showed which businesses were polluting local waterways. With no official enforcement happening, private attorneys and environmentalists have taken matters into their own hands, filing dozens of lawsuits against area companies for violating clean water laws.
Across California, there could be thousands or even tens of thousands of businesses dodging environmental rules and sending pollution into the state’s waters. Though an entire regulatory system exists to police businesses and keep water safe for residents and wildlife, the state doesn’t know how many unpermitted businesses are out there, or how much damage they’re doing.
The San Diego Regional Water Quality Board pushed off until next year a rule change that would allow copper and zinc to keep flowing through Chollas Creek.
For years, the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board has tried to make cities clean up Chollas Creek. Now, thanks to a regulatory change, the board will wipe away the problem in part by redefining pollution instead of reducing it.
As the county rewrites its Climate Action Plan, it’s simultaneously considering several big developments that could impact the environment. Environmentalists are concerned the projects would make it impossible for the county to meet the greenhouse gas reduction targets the state says it needs to meet by 2030.
Surrounded by water on three sides, Imperial Beach is among the most vulnerable cities in the state when it comes to higher and higher sea levels. The city’s mayor and City Council are trying to act, but it won’t be easy or cheap.
Over the years San Ysidro residents have expressed concern about air pollution generated by the busiest border crossing into Mexico, pointing to an unusually high number of asthma cases. Now, as the U.S. government works to expand the port of entry, residents are spearheading their own air-pollution study.