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In a move that could cost southern California taxpayers up to $2 billion, the State Water Board turned down an appeal by an alliance of Los Angeles area cities seeking to amend costly, ineffective trash regulations for the Los Angeles River.
"Removing trash from the Los Angeles River is a worthy goal, but these trash regulations are too extreme and would force cities to either raise taxes or cut other vital services including our police and fire departments," said Signal Hill Mayor Larry Forrester, chair of the Coalition for Practical Regulation, an alliance of more than 40 southern California cities.
Known as the Los Angeles Basin Trash TMDL, these regulations were approved by the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board. The Coalition appealed them to the State Board, which made its decision today in Sacramento.
Cities are also concerned that these trash rules would open the floodgates to lawsuits by outside parties for even minor complaints.
"These rules mandate that cities must allow zero trash into the Los Angeles River or face lawsuits from outside parties," said Bellflower Vice Mayor John Pratt.
"Have these people ever been down to the Los Angeles River? Zero trash in the River while perhaps an admirable vision, is not even close to reality. These rules will create a feeding frenzy among trial lawyers, at the expense of our citizens and taxpayers."
The cities' coalition had offered modifications that would have helped clean up trash in the Los Angeles River without the negative consequences of the original regulations.
"Trash is undeniably a problem that we all have to deal with," said Rosemead Mayor Margaret Clark. "We hoped we could work toward a better solution than these draconian rules."