I have often regaled Legal Insurrection readers with reports of California’s water crises and infrastructure woes.

Despite the fact that the Golden State of Insanity has been at war with President Donald Trump since his upset election, the administration approved a water project in October to help California resolve its water problems.

President Donald Trump’s administration has approved a company’s plan to build a water pipeline to carry billions of gallons from the Mojave Desert to California cities.

The federal Bureau of Land Management told Cadiz Inc. in a letter released Monday that the company won’t need a permit to build the pipeline alongside a railroad. The agency rescinded a 2015 decision by President Barack Obama’s administration that had blocked the project.

The Los Angeles-based company said with no federal permit needed, it now plans to move ahead with designing and building the 43-mile pipeline from its property to the Colorado River Aqueduct.

Now that’s a move loaded with “win” for both side!

However, now environmental groups are moving to stop the project:

Three conservation and health safety groups Tuesday filed a federal lawsuit challenging the federal government’s approval of a project that would transfer 16 billion gallons of water annually from a remote part of San Bernardino County’s Mojave Desert to developments in South Orange County and other locations.

“The Cadiz project will suck the desert dry while developers count their money,” said Ileene Anderson, a senior scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity, one of the three plaintiff’s groups. “Pumping ancient groundwater from the Mojave Desert to water suburban lawns in Orange County will devastate wildlife and the entire ecosystem relying on that water for survival.”

In short, the assertions are the perfect blend of the classic, eco-activist blather that businesses and communities must contend with each time they try and build a new project.

Yet, it turns out that this lawsuit might be an interesting case of blue vs blue interests! Many California Democrats are behind the Cadiz pipeline, as it seems their constituents like access to reasonably priced water, too.

Cadiz has powerful supporters too, including gubernatorial candidate and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who worked as a consultant for the company. Earlier this year, 18 members of Congress urged Zinke to approve the water pipeline, including five Californians: Tony Cárdenas (D-Los Angeles), Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley), Jim Costa (D-Fresno), Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine) and Tom McClintock (R-Elk Grove).

Supporters say the Cadiz project would provide needed water for Southern California cities and generate jobs. The company has also argued its project wouldn’t harm desert ecosystems, saying the groundwater it wants to pump is now flowing downhill and evaporating from two dry lakes — not feeding desert springs that nourish wildlife.

Asked to comment on the lawsuit, Courtney Degener, a spokesperson for Cadiz, pointed out that Orange County’s Santa Margarita Water District — which has signed a contract to buy a portion of the 50,000 acre-feet of water Cadiz hopes to pump every year for 50 years — already studied the project’s environmental impacts. …

“San Bernardino County, Cadiz and Santa Margarita Water District jointly defended all of those cases and prevailed in every instance,” Degener said in an email.

Hopefully, the ruling on this case will be more sensible than others we have seen come out of this state recently.


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