August 1, 2013

Calif. pot farm pollution: Too dangerous to deal with?

Marijuana farms proliferate in the high Sierra, where armed Mexican cartel operatives clear wilderness areas, divert creeks and poison wildlife.

By Tracie Cone / The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

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In this undated photo released by Butte County Department of Public Works, marijuana grading violations are seen on a hillside less than 1,000 feet from the west branch of the Feather River off of Jordan Hill Road in the Concow area in Butte County, Calif.

AP

click image to enlarge

In this undated photo released by Butte County Department of Public Works, marijuana grading violations are seen off of Crystal Ranch Road in the Feather Falls area in Butte County, Calif.

AP

"I initiated this because I thought it was the best way to get action on the things I was seeing," said Storm Feiler, a water board scientist who is part of the task force. "We have taken an active role because we have so many grow sites over here, and since 2007 there has been an astronomical increase. It's a really big issue for us."

The discrepancies in enforcement have come to the attention of Assembly Member Dan Logue, R-Loma Rica, who represents Butte County. He said it's the first time he's heard of a state agency refusing to enforce state laws.

He said that as marijuana farms proliferate, the issue of keeping creeks, streams and rivers free of toxins has become a statewide issue.

Logue sent a letter to the water board's Creedon expressing concern over the "diminishing water quality in this part of my district," and asking the agency to help find a way to enforce the Clean Water Act. He has asked for a meeting with members of Gov. Jerry Brown's staff in an attempt to force action.

"This has to be fixed," Logue said in an interview. "We have an issue in the state where agencies are fearful, and the law isn't being applied equally."

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