Utility likes three-way MTBE fight | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Utility likes three-way MTBE fight

The board of South Shore’s primary water supplier Thursday endorsed the idea of creating a three-way agreement with the city of South Lake Tahoe and El Dorado County to ban MTBE.

South Tahoe Public Utility District, which has closed more than one-third of its wells because of the controversial fuel additive, may soon form a Joint Powers Agreement with the other two government agencies to focus on banning MTBE.

“I think it’s a great idea,” said Chris Strohm, STPUD board vice president.

The idea was introduced at a March 16 meeting of South Lake Tahoe’s City Council. Last year the City Council adopted a resolution which stated that board members would “consider a ban of the use of MTBE within the city of South Lake Tahoe … if other government agencies do not take action by April 1, 1999.” The City Council was discussing its options earlier this week, and the JPA seemed like the best option.

The three-way agreement would increase the agencies’ ability to enforce an MTBE-related action as well as defend itself in the face of possible litigation.

“I think the JPA is the way to go, to combine all our forces,” Mayor Judy Brown told STPUD’s board at the Thursday meeting. “We have enforcement capability; you have the technology. I think it’s good, and I hope you support it.”

The plan could change, however, depending on Gov. Gray Davis. He is expected to make a decision concerning MTBE’s future by early April.

“A lot of this is going to depend on what Gov. Davis decides to do,” Jim Jones, STPUD’s board president said.

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