Local environmental groups announced Monday that they settled a lawsuit with Southern California Edison.
Under the settlement, Edison agreed to clean up facilities that were identified as sources of toxic contaminants that pollute waterways.
The company additionally agreed to provide $160,000 to a public-private partnership to mitigate alleged past damages to the environment. This partnership is working to develop water quality protections for “Areas of Special Biological Significance” throughout the state.
This settlement is the result of a lawsuit that was filed by the Ecological Rights Foundation and Santa Barbara Channelkeeper on June 8, 2020. The suit alleged that Edison lacked appropriate water quality protections for 27 facilities due to its use of the chemical pentachlorophenol on wooden utility poles.
“Pentachlorophenol and its byproducts are highly toxic in aquatic environments such as the Goleta Slough,” said Benjamin Pitterle, the science and policy director for Santa Barbara Channelkeeper, in a news release. “These storage and processing facilities are hotspots for this form of pollution, and the agreement will help ensure that our waterways are better protected.”
As a result of this settlement agreement, more than 60 waterways will be provided with environmental protections including the Goleta Slough State Marine Conservation Area. The Goleta Slough serves as a wildlife habitat for rare and endangered species.
The parties reached an agreement on Nov. 9 that commits Edison to the implementation of a comprehensive program to prevent contaminants from escaping its facilities. The program will take place over the next seven years, and Edison is now bound by the agreement to demonstrate the efficacy of the program through monitoring water quality.