August 21, 2014 – Today, Orange County Superior Court Judge Gail Andler issued final Statements of Decision (“SOD”) in the six outstanding California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) challenges to the approvals of the Cadiz Valley Water Conservation, Recovery and Storage Project (“Cadiz Project”). The final SODs affirm the previously announced May 1, 2014 Minute Order issued by the Court, which denied all claims against the Project’s environmental review and found that the Santa Margarita Water District (“SMWD”) and the County of San Bernardino (“County”) acted properly in approving the Cadiz Project and its permits.
“We are grateful for Judge Andler’s decisions, which further validates what we have long believed: That Southern California water users can benefit from this immense, sustainable water supply without harming the environment,” said Scott Slater, Cadiz CEO.
In accordance with California law, the Project went through a thorough and expansive environmental review and permitting process over 18 months from 2011 – 2012. After extensive public input and technical review, the Project’s Environmental Impact Report (“EIR”) was certified on July 31, 2012 by SMWD, the Lead Agency of the CEQA process. On October 1, 2012, the County Board of Supervisors, a Responsible Agency under CEQA, approved the Project’s Groundwater Management, Monitoring, and Mitigation Plan under the County’s Desert Groundwater Ordinance.
Lawsuits challenging these key approvals were filed in 2012 by various parties. Three cases were dismissed or settled in 2013 and six cases brought separately by the Center for Biological Diversity and Tetra Technologies (NYSE: TTI) proceeded to trial in December 2013 before Judge Andler. These cases alleged that the procedures followed and the quality of the analysis during the CEQA process were inadequate and sought a reversal of the core Project approvals. The final SODs set forth the basis for denying all of Petitioners’ claims and validated the thorough environmental review of the Project. ###