Do the Right Thing, Sunnyvale and Mountain View

Over several years, Baykeeper’s field team sampled the stormwater runoff coming off the streets of Sunnyvale and Mountain View. We found that the cities’ runoff contained levels of E. coli bacteria that were as much as 50 times what’s legally allowed – and these discharges were polluting local creeks and rivers. So, we filed a lawsuit under the Clean Water Act to get the cities to stop contaminating these waters, which are home to fish and wildlife and provide recreational enjoyment for many residents.

Rather than work with Baykeeper to quickly resolve their pollution problems, Sunnyvale and Mountain View have denied responsibility under the law and dragged the litigation out for three years. Despite being fairly progressive Bay Area cities, they’re making decisions behind closed doors to undermine the Clean Water Act – decisions that could harm the environment and local residents.

Most recently, the cities decided to take advantage of the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Sackett v. EPA, which limited the scope of the Clean Water Act The cities’ lawyers decided to argue that the Sackett decision meant that South Bay waterways, such as Stevens Creek and Calabazas Creek, shouldn’t be protected under the Clean Water Act either. It was a radical misapplication of the Supreme Court ruling, and fortunately the judge in our case rejected their arguments

The city councils are also using Baykeeper’s pending litigation to make these big decisions during closed session without public knowledge or input. They are not being transparent in their decision making or representing the interests of their residents. As Sunnyvale resident and kayaker Stephen Meier recently told his city council: “It seems like you guys are making some monumental decisions in the dark…to undermine the EPA and the Clean Water Act.” Adding, “If I fall out of my kayak and take in a mouthful of sewage, I’m going to get sick: Why do you not want us to have EPA protection?”

The only thing that Sunnyvale and Mountain View have to do is the right thing. They should protect local creeks and residents by upgrading their stormwater systems to reduce pollution.

Send a letter to ask the cities to do the right thing and protect local creeks from pollution!

Photo of a kite surfer in Sunnyvale by Meggle, Flickr/CC

Tell the cities of Sunnyvale and Mountain View to do the right thing and stop polluting creeks and San Francisco Bay!