Alleged violations may send Squaw Valley USA to state Attorney General | SierraSun.com
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Alleged violations may send Squaw Valley USA to state Attorney General

Jeremy Morrison, Sierra Sun

OLYMPIC VALLEY – The Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board will hold a public hearing Friday regarding the alleged environmental negligence of Squaw Valley USA.

The board, accusing the ski area of being less-than-willing to comply with a number of environmental regulations, will decide whether or not to refer the resort to the state’s attorney general office.

“Regional board staff believe that they have exhausted their regulatory and enforcement options, short of referring this matter to the Office of the Attorney General,” reads a Lahontan control board document. “Regional board staff have not been satisfied with the results of their efforts to date.”

The water quality control board accuses that Squaw Valley USA “violated or may have violated” numerous environmental regulations, including failure to comply with waste discharge requirements, cleanup and abatement orders and discharge prohibitions.

Much of the resort’s alleged infractions stem from construction related to the Gold Coast Pond, Funitel, Headwall – Cornice II Express Lift, Gold Coast – Mainline Express Lift, Siberia Lift Drainage and Olympic Valley Inn.

“Given the close and cooperative working relationship we have established with Lahontan staff, we are very surprised,” Mike Livak, Squaw’s director of planning, wrote in a letter to the Tahoe World. “The water quality leaving Ski Corp’s property has been consistently within Lahontan’s “Receiving Water Limitations” for sediment loads.”

Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board staff is recommending the discharger, Squaw Valley USA – listed as Alex Cushing, Nancy Wendt, Hans Burkhart, corporate officers and managers and other parties – be referred to the Office of Attorney General “for litigation seeking any and all relief that the Attorney General deems appropriate and authorized by law.”

Squaw’s alleged violations according to the report include:

— Gold Coast Pond Expansion Project – unauthorized removal of wetlands; failure to comply with mitigation deadlines.

— Funitel Project – failed to construct the project as proposed in the application; failed to implement an approved remediation plan.

— Headwall-Cornice II – discharged earthen materials and altered the course of two intermittent streams; contributed to the exceedence of water quality objectives for Squaw Creek and its tributaries; failed to submit technical information on time.

— Gold Coast – Mainline Express Lift Project – failed to submit technical information on time; created a threatened discharge of earthen material.

— Siberia Lift Drainage – discharged earthen materials to the South Fork of Squaw Creek; failed to submit report.

— Olympic Valley Inn – discharged earthen materials and other wastes to an ephemeral stream.

— Road Network -failed to provide complete and timely monitoring and reporting program reports; discharges from the road network are contributing to the exceedence of water quality objectives for Squaw Creek and its tributaries.

— Ski Run System – failed to provide complete and timely monitoring and reporting program reports; discharges from the ski trail system are contributing to the exceedence of water quality objectives for Squaw Creek and its tributaries.

The issue will be heard at 8:30 a.m. at the control board’s Friday meeting at the Forest Inn Suites in South Lake Tahoe.


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