Cadiz Inc.

12/05/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 12/05/2021 23:14

Cadiz, Inc. Issues Update on Litigation Challenging Scope of Environmental Review for Northern Pipeline Right-of-Ways

05 DecCadiz, Inc. Issues Update on Litigation Challenging Scope of Environmental Review for Northern Pipeline Right-of-Ways

On Friday December 3, 2021, the United States Bureau of Land Management ("BLM") filed in U.S. Federal District Court a motion for voluntary remand in two cases challenging the adequacy of environmental review for BLM's December 2020 approval of an assignment of an existing right-of-way under the Mineral Leasing Act (MLA) and a grant of a new right of way over the same land under the Federal Land Management and Policy Act (FLPMA) that expressly incorporated the conveyance of water. Plaintiffs in the cases are led by Sierra Club, National Parks Conservation Association, and the Center for Biological Diversity, which were all parties to the unsuccessful challenges to the Cadiz Water Project permits in State Court.

The current cases focus on the federal environmental review completed by BLM when it assigned the existing MLA right of way to Cadiz and granted the FLPMA right-of-way authorizing water to be conveyed through the pipe over federal land. Conveying water in the pipeline does not require any disturbance of the public land of any kind. Approximately 58 miles of the pipeline's 220-mile route cross federal lands managed by BLM, with the balance non-public lands.

The Company is a real party in interest in the case, after being permitted to intervene in August, and, in accordance with the Court's briefing schedule, will file its opposition to the motion and defend the right of way grants in a reply brief in January 2022. A hearing on the motion is expected in March 2022 following briefing by all parties. Any remand for further environmental review must be ordered by the Judge.

The Company's ownership rights in the pipeline are not at issue in the litigation and the Company maintains ownership and operational rights in the line. These cases also have no bearing on the Company's existing rights to conserve groundwater and manage the groundwater basin at Cadiz to make available 2.5 million acre-feet over 50 years for beneficial uses, authorized in the Cadiz Water Project CEQA environmental documents and County groundwater management plan.

The 220-mile Northern pipeline, when fully converted to carry water instead of natural gas, will have utility separate and apart from the CEQA-approved Cadiz Water Project. Development of the pipeline conversion project will proceed as the lawsuit continues.


Community Groups Support the Pipeline Conversion Permit

"Rebuild and other community groups in California have called, written and emailed the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Land Management multiple times over the last four months seeking an opportunity to discuss the urgent need for quick action on an innovative project that would permit a fossil fuel pipeline to carry water supplies to desperate communities in the State. Based on the Court filing, it appears we were ignored." Jon Switalski, Executive Director, Rebuild SoCal Partnership

"Sayingthe Administration wants to remove barriers for disadvantaged communities to access funds for clean water infrastructure, while at the very same time erecting yet another barrier to accessing clean water infrastructure for California's most vulnerable communities is concerning and inconsistent. It is our hope that this fumble on clean water, climate change and racial inequality is temporary and not cause for great concern."Jose L. Barrera Novoa, State Director, California LULAC

"Just as President Biden announced that the first wave of funds from the recently passed bipartisan infrastructure package is being distributed to states in need of water infrastructure repairs and upgrades, his Department of the Interior has asked a Federal Court to unwind permits for an innovative water infrastructure project that could quickly transport water supplies to rural small and disadvantaged communities. These are the same communities that for decades have suffered from underinvestment in safe, reliable water supplies."Dave Sorem, P.E., Engineering Contractors Association, Past Chairman of Rebuild.