Cadiz Project Furthers a Railroad Purpose as Required by new IM
Los Angeles — Today, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued a long awaited Instruction Memorandum (IM) to its Field Offices regarding the “Evaluation and Approval of Activities within Railroad Rights-of-Way Granted under the General Railroad Right-of-Way Act of March 3, 1875.” Pursuant to the IM, BLM will evaluate whether any activity proposed for an 1875 Act railroad right-of-way that crosses federal lands “furthers a railroad purpose.” If BLM determines that it does, then the railroad or third parties authorized by it may proceed with the activity on those lands without further federal consent or involvement. If BLM determines that the proposed activity does not “further a railroad purpose,” then the project proponent will have to obtain a permit from BLM to proceed.
In 2008, Cadiz entered into a 99-year lease agreement with the Arizona & California Railroad Company (ARZC) to use portions of its 1875 Act right-of–way for the Cadiz Valley Water Conservation, Recovery and Storage Project (Project), which will transport water by a buried pipeline from Cadiz to the Colorado River Aqueduct. The lease expressly requires that the Project further several railroad purposes and, under our lease agreement, the ARZC reserved water supplies from the planned pipeline for its operational needs as well as access to Project facilities, such as roads and power appurtenances, for the benefit of its railroad operation.
Among the many benefits, including access to roads and power facilities, the Project will also make water available to ARZC along its rail line for fire suppression purposes at a time when federal concern over damage to railroads from fires as the result of spills of petroleum products and other accidents is at an all-time high. In addition, the Project will enable the operation of a steam-powered tourism-based train that will operate between Parker, Arizona and Cadiz, California.
Since 2012, the ARZC and Cadiz have provided the BLM detailed information about the numerous railroad purposes that will be furthered by the Project and we believe our proposed use of the ARZC right-of-way fit squarely within the four corners of the new framework. We are therefore hopeful that we will receive a speedy determination from the BLM under its new IM that the Project may proceed on AZRC’s right-of-way without further federal consent or involvement.