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Polluter Saves Over $1 Million After Administrative Error in Citation

paradise-cove-pollution.jpg
Paradise Cove in Malibu
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A state water board's administrative error has basically left a polluting company off the hook. In what Heal the Bay president Mark Gold calls "one of the most polluted beaches in Santa Monica Bay"--that would be Paradise Cove in Malibu--a mobile park owned by the Kissel Company "has been one of the largest sources of fecal pollution to the beach." Ew! So here's what happened:
The Regional Water Board staff and attorneys made some egregious errors of their own in enforcing the case. Picture a serial felon getting released on probation because the police failed to read the accused his Miranda rights. That’s what happened here. Due to administrative errors in how the enforcement mechanisms were structured, the initial recommended fine of $1.65 million was whittled down to $54,500.

Because of the technical mistakes, the Kissel Co. saved over a million dollars in penalties and even more millions in the opportunity cost gained by not upgrading, operating and maintaining a First World wastewater treatment system for a decade. It definitely pays to pollute.

Gold says Steve Dahlberg, who runs Kissel, owes the community and should pay up. The Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board is made up of nine members, appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.