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Chloride not yet on governor’s radar

Posted: April 22, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: April 22, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Gov. Jerry Brown was formally introduced to local leaders’ fight to relax strict mandates on chloride levels in the Santa Clara River on Thursday.

During his invitation-only town-hall meeting at Hart High School, Santa Clarita Mayor Marsha McLean asked to have a sit-down with Brown to talk about raising the allowable chloride levels in the Santa Clara River.

Brown was in town to sell his proposal to extend current income and sales taxes to prevent billions of dollars of cuts in public education and safety.

When the governor called on McLean to speak at the forum, she spent almost three minutes laying out Santa Clarita’s chloride woes.

“I just request that perhaps we could set up a meeting with you in your office to discuss this issue that impacts our schools, our businesses and all of our residents,” McLean said. “The Los Angeles Regional Water Control Board has set a (chloride) standard that is lower than any other area across the state. It’s an impossible mandate to reach.”

“OK,” Brown said. “Maybe we could do something.”

He then called on another speaker.

McLean said after the meeting, Brown told her his office would be in contact with the city to talk about the chloride issue. She said it’s the first time the city has reached out to the governor’s office.

“This was the perfect opportunity (to talk about chloride),” McLean said. “We definitely think the governor needs to be involved.”

City Councilwoman Laurie Ender said it was obvious Brown had never heard of the controversy before McLean asked the question.

“It seemed pretty clear to me he wasn’t made aware of the chloride issue,” Ender said.

Backed by farmers from Ventura County who say chloride damages their crops, the water board has required Santa Clarita to maintain chloride levels to 117 milligrams per liter in the river. The level is difficult to maintain during a drought.

To keep chloride levels low, Santa Clarita residents could be on the hook for a treatment plant that could cost $210 million or more.


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