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US Pac Bell to Pay $1.5M to Remove Lead-Leaking Telephone Cables from Lake Tahoe

01:05  25 november  2021
01:05  25 november  2021 Source:   newsweek.com

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Pacific Bell will remove nearly 8 miles of abandoned underwater telephone cables that have been leaching toxic lead into Lake Tahoe , according to a settlement agreement reached last week in federal court. For decades, the telecommunications company that is now Pacific Bell , a subsidiary of AT&T “We have agreed to remove these cables because they are no longer in use, however, we dispute any notion that they were a source of pollution.” Last week, the sportfishing alliance and Pac Bell reached an agreement by which the company will remove the cables without admitting liability for any harm

The PacBell telephone cables contain copper transmission wires, shielded by lead sheathing. The Center for Environmental Health claimed the two cables contain 63 tons of lead , which the group alleged had been leaching into Lake Tahoe at rates far above legal limits. Under a consent decree finalized last week in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, Pacific Bell admitted no fault or liability, but agreed to make $ 1 . 5 million in funding available for removing the two cables , which span about 8 miles. The funding should be more than enough to cover the cost of removal , which the court

AT&T's Pac Bell will pay up to $1.5 million in a settlement to remove eight miles of telephone cables from Lake Tahoe, the Associated Press reported.

This photo taken Oct. 20, 2021 shows Emerald Bay's mouth to Lake Tahoe, where a submerged telephone cable was abandoned decades ago. AT&T's Pac Bell subsidiary recently settled a lawsuit filed by the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance by agreeing to remove 8 miles of cable that is leaking toxic lead into the alpine lake on the California-Nevada line. © Scott Sonner/AP Photo This photo taken Oct. 20, 2021 shows Emerald Bay's mouth to Lake Tahoe, where a submerged telephone cable was abandoned decades ago. AT&T's Pac Bell subsidiary recently settled a lawsuit filed by the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance by agreeing to remove 8 miles of cable that is leaking toxic lead into the alpine lake on the California-Nevada line.

Pac Bell agreed to place the $1.5 million in an account to protect it from overruns, despite the estimated cost of cable removal being from $275,000 to $550,000. The agreement was signed by U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremy Peterson in Sacramento on November 4 in a lawsuit filed by the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance in January.

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The leaded cables were left behind. At the time they were first laid, Below the Blue said the hazards of lead leaching into water was less-understood. Nowadays that’s far from the case. “Now that the risks of such contamination are known, it is unfathomable to continue exposing Lake Tahoe ’s residents and Jones and Fortner said they have performed thousands of dives in Lake Tahoe to remove foreign objects and raise awareness of pollution in the lake . Commercial and industrial waste is known to be resting on the lakebed. “The settlement is a step in the right direction, but the risks to the environment

Eight miles of abandoned telephone cable laid off the west shore of Lake Tahoe were ordered removed under a settlement, according to a federal court decree. Pac Bell stopped using the cables in the 1980s. In a suit filed by California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, the cables are leaching lead into the Lake . The nonprofit sued in federal court at the beginning of the year, but were able to come to a settlement where Pac Bell would provide $ 1 . 5 million to remove the cables from the Lake .

The lawsuit said the telephone cables sitting at the bottom of the lake have over 65 tons of toxic lead polluting the water, the AP reported. They were replaced with fiber optic cables during the 1980s and abandoned in the lake, subsequently violating state water quality protections. Pac Bell knew the cables would eventually leak, according to the lawsuit.

Under the U.S. Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the cables are considered solid waste as they contain over three pounds of lead per foot, the lawsuit said. The lawsuit said lead can lead to cancer and reproductive toxicity.

"All of the cables are damaged and discharging lead into Lake Tahoe," the lawsuit said.

The subsidiary agreement with the alliance states "the parties agree that defendant makes no admission of liability or of any other issue of law ... whatsoever regarding the claims made by plaintiff."

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The Nevada award going toward Lake Tahoe is for the first year of a two-year pact with ShakeAlert partners including UC Berkeley and California Institute of Technology; along with the universities of Oregon and Washington and Central Washington University. “We have an unmatched communications system that powers our seismic, fire and extreme-weather network. Environment. PacBell agrees to remove 8 miles of defunct lead telephone cables from Lake Tahoe .

PacBell agrees to remove 8 miles of defunct lead telephone cables from Lake Tahoe . Feather River Resource Conservation District’s capacity for resilience. Commentary: Clean up the Centennial site responsibly. In a disastrous drought, a grim milestone: California could see its first big reservoir run dry. “ Lake Mendocino, once a plentiful reservoir nourishing the vines and villas of Sonoma and Mendocino counties, today is little more than a large pond, cowering beneath the coastal hills. … State officials warn that Lake Mendocino could be the first major reservoir in modern times to go dry.

Divers of Below the Blue, a non-profit group, found the cables while removing foreign debris from the lake, which is 1,644 feet deep.

"As professional divers, we're all too familiar with the volume of dumping that goes on in Lake Tahoe, but even we were shocked when we came upon these cables and saw how old they looked, and how far they stretched across the Lake," said Monique Rydel Fortner.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

One cable stretches from the southwestern shore of the lake at Baldwin Beach to the west shore at Rubicon Bay. The other runs past the mouth of Emerald Bay.

The company must obtain all necessary permits, and if permitting requirements push costs above $1.5 million, the sides will need to come together to reassess and go back to litigating if they can't then agree, it said.

The lawsuit said the company was violating both the federal RCRA and the California Health and Safety Code, subject to civil penalties of up to $2,500 a day dating to 2020 and up to $2,500 a day "until Pac Bell stops releasing lead into the waters of Lake Tahoe."

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California Paid Family Leave will add a new claim type called Military Assist. The benefits will be available to “eligible Californians who need time off work to participate in a qualifying event because of the military deployment of their spouse, registered domestic partner, parent, or child to a foreign country.” Pacific Bell ordered to remove miles of lead -leaching telephone cables from Lake Tahoe .

Whenever I 've driven to South Tahoe I 've never had a 4-wheel drive. You only need to 2. Because you are not an expert in putting these chains on (much more difficult than changing a tire) and the weather will be cold and snowy when you need them, you will get to pay one of the Cal or Nev "chain-guys" about Then you will have to get out of your car and remove them once the road is clear. driving from lake tahoe to yosemite 4 replies.

The Klamath Environmental Law Center based in Eureka, California, sent notice of the alleged violations in August 2020 to Pacific Bell Telephone Co., the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, California regulators, El Dorado County, Placer County and local utilities providing services in the area, including Sierra Pacific Power Co./NV Energy and Liberty Utilities.

The subsequent lawsuit cited alleged violations under both RCRA and protections established under Proposition 65 California voters approved in 1986. It ordered California's governor to establish a list of cancer-causing and other chemicals, put the burden on businesses to provide clear warnings about the dangers of exposure to them and prohibited their discharge into sources of drinking water, including Lake Tahoe.

David Roe, a longtime lawyer for the Environmental Defense Fund who was the principal author of Proposition 65, said the alliance's legal team deserved credit for devising a strategy that utilized a combination of the two laws to protect the public.

"Most businesses think Proposition 65 requires only warnings about toxic chemicals, but it has strong extra teeth to protect the waters we drink from," Roe said. "Local agencies with responsibilities to protect those waters would do well to study this innovative legal approach."

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Divers from Below the Blue, a non-profit group, discovered the cables while removing foreign debris from Lake Tahoe, which holds enough water to cover the entire state of California over 14 inches deep. In this photo, kids enjoy a sunny day at Fallen Leaf Lake, located adjacent to Lake Tahoe near Emerald Bay, on August 9, 2020, in South Lake Tahoe, California. George Rose/Getty Images © George Rose/Getty Images Divers from Below the Blue, a non-profit group, discovered the cables while removing foreign debris from Lake Tahoe, which holds enough water to cover the entire state of California over 14 inches deep. In this photo, kids enjoy a sunny day at Fallen Leaf Lake, located adjacent to Lake Tahoe near Emerald Bay, on August 9, 2020, in South Lake Tahoe, California. George Rose/Getty Images

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