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Opposition Grows as Anti-Cadiz AB-1000 Moves in Sacramento

Despite strong opposition from water agencies, labor, businesses and professional hydrologists, AB 1000 (Friedman), a bill that would carve out the Cadiz Water Project for selective, unwarranted and onerous treatment by the state, passed through the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee on a 7-2 vote yesterday.

The vote was expected, given the committee’s make-up and long history of being heavily influenced by the environmentalist lobby. It now goes to the Senate Appropriations Committee, where it will face a tougher fight.

While supporters of the Cadiz Water Project opposed the bill because it unfairly seeks to create new hurdles for the project, many others attacked it because it would establish a dangerous precedent that could be used by opponents to stall any water transfer, or indeed any infrastructure or development project in California processed under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

Cadiz issued the following statement after the vote:

“We are disappointed that the California Legislature’s Senate Committee on Natural Resources voted yesterday on a party line 7-2 vote to pass out of committee Assembly Bill (AB) 1000, a bill just introduced by Assembly member Laura Friedman (D-Glendale) over the Independence Day holiday.  Assembly member Friedman utilized the “gut and amend” process to quietly change a pre-existing bill and load it with new language that seeks to derail reliable water supplies in Southern California without consultation with those who may be impacted by such legislation.

“AB 1000 is a deeply flawed, unconstitutional bill that targets a single project, usurps local control and undercuts the revered California Environmental Quality Act to review environmental impacts.  Setting a terrible precedent, AB 1000 would overrule the judgment of local agencies even where California’s Courts have already reviewed and approved their decisions.

“The Bill faces substantial opposition and numerous steps remain ahead of AB 1000 before it could become law.   We will work vigorously with the broad, growing coalition of opposition to block this bill from advancing and demonstrate that such an extraordinary action is both unlawful and unwise.”

When the Legislature returns from its summer recess in August, the bill will go to the Senate Appropriations Committee. Watch for an alert when the timing is appropriate to contact the members of the Appropriations Committee to oppose the bill. If you aren’t on Water 4 SoCal’s email list, please click the “Show Your Support” button in the upper right and sign up.

Even with Friedman’s political gamesmanship to limit the time for public review of her bill, more than 40 local, state and national organizations came out in strong opposition. Here’s a partial list:

State Building Trades & Construction Council of California

Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA)

Southern California Water Committee

Three Valleys Municipal Water District

Twentynine Palms Water District

Santa Margarita Water District

Southern California Partnership for Jobs

Southern California Association of Governments

American Groundwater Trust

California Chamber of Commerce

Inland Empire Economic Partnership

Imperial County Farm Bureau

Engineering Contractors Association

San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership

California Business Properties Association

International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 12

Building Industry Association of Southern California

BIZFED – Los Angeles County Business Federation

Orange County Business Council

To view a selection of letters filed in opposition to AB1000, click here.

To view Cadiz Inc.’s letter to the Senate Committee, click here.

The text of AB 1000 is available here.

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