Clark County

Court backs strong Washington rules to rein in polluted rainwater runoff

In a ruling with statewide implications that hands a victory to environmentalists, the Washington Pollution Control Hearings Board rejected a system to control polluted rainwater runoff in Clark County that partially shifted the financial burden from developers to the public.

The board’s multi-pronged 2-1 decision shot down a special deal cut by the Department of Ecology for Clark County, saying Ecology punted on its responsibilities to rein in the fast-growing pollution source, instead allowing the county so much leeway that it amounts to “an impermissible self-regulatory program” when Ecology is supposed to be in charge. The board’s ruling holds that the resulting system violates the federal Clean Water Act and state law.

It’s unclear for now whether the state, Clark County or developers will appeal. The case is focused on rainwater runoff, known as “stormwater,” which is Puget Sound’s largest source of toxic pollutants and is a major factor in the decline of waterways statewide.

The pollution starts when raindrops hit hard surfaces – parking lots, roofs, streets, and so forth. That water coalesces into rivulets that run downhill toward the nearest river, lake, stream or bay, picking up pollution that transforms the water into a bouillabaisse of tainted substances including oil, gas, animal excrement, fertilizers and pesticides.

The board had previously ruled that southwestern Washington's Clark County and a handful of other large cities and counties must begin to require a set of building techniques known as “low impact development” to control the polluted rainwater runoff.

Byline: 

Las Vegas police help deport illegal immigrants

Since November, the Las Vegas police department has helped initiate deportation proceedings agains nearly 2,000  illegal immigrants who are inmates in the Clark County Detention Center.

In a new partnership that blends criminal law and immigration law enforcement,  Las Vegas police report the names of violent offenders believed to be in the U.S. illegally to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that the Clark County program is narrower in scope than that of Maricopa County in Arizona, where police officers can arrest people for immigration violations.  However, once someone has been arrested in Clark County on unrelated charges, they can be screened for possible deportation. 

A Las Vegas police spokesman said  an inmate's criminal history affects whether they initiate deportation proceedings.  Another 1,800 inmates who are illegal immigrants were not reported because they had no violent criminal history.

Critics of the partnership call it tantamount to racial profiling; they say the police's double duty will deter Hispanic community members from reporting crimes.