Santa Barbara Independent-
Southern California Edison (SCE) stands accused of irresponsible practices by Santa Barbara County and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers after it shoved large quantities of debris over the edge of the road and onto the hillsides surrounding the headwaters of Mission Creek during a road-widening project in December 2019. “While conducting the necessary road maintenance activities in mid-December, SCE crews performed more extensive grading than originally expected, resulting in debris moving down the slope and into Mission Creek and other unintended impacts to this area,” said SCE in a press release.
The utility has stated that it is taking steps to remedy the situation. It could face fines as high as $50,000 a day if it fails to make corrections, according to a Notice of Violation letter from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dated January 8, 2020. The letter states that SCE’s actions constitute a potential violation of the Clean Water Act.
Residents of the neighborhood surrounding the Tunnel trailhead have strong words for SCE, whose practices have been “astounding in terms of lapse of control,” according to Marc Chytilo, who can see the creek from his house. SCE has promised to clean up the mess. “The massive dumping of debris into Mission Creek was egregious and unacceptable. We expect a proper restoration plan with oversight from the California Fish and Wildlife Department and other regulators,” said Das Williams, county supervisor for the area, which falls in his District 1.