• Steve Brown

Governor Newsom signs SB 307 protecting the groundwater and wildlife of the Mojave

Breaking News: California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed SB 307, legislation which helps protect the groundwater and wildlife of the Mojave Desert.

"This evening, California governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 307 into law, requiring the state to give the horrendous Cadiz Water Mining Project an objective hard look to ensure it won't cause damage to the California desert before Cadiz can sell a single acre-foot of water, noted Chris Clarke, California Desert Program Manager for the National Parks Conservation Association. "This is an amazing victory, as there is no way on earth Cadiz will pass scientific muster without improperly influencing the process, which they will be unable to do."

"Cadiz will spin this devastating loss as long as the company has money to spend on PR, trying to find some way to minimize the damage to their business plan," Clarke added. "But the facts are plain: they cannot pump as much water from the arid Mojave as they claim without devastating an ecosystem already struggling with the effects of climate change. Science has proven that vital springs are threatened by this project.  Scientific evidence is strong that Cadiz's estimates of how much the project can pump each year are grossly inflated. There will be no getting around these hard facts. SB 307 will prevent the Cadiz project from happening."

“For decades, Cadiz has tried to skirt federal permitting and rob the Mojave Desert of its most precious resource, water," said Senator Dianne Feinstein, a staunch opponent to the Cadiz Water Project. "Thanks to Governor Newsom’s signature, that effort has been thwarted and California now has significantly stronger protections for desert aquifers.

“Water is the lifeblood of the California desert. If Cadiz were allowed to drain a vital desert aquifer, everything that makes our desert special – from bighorn sheep and desert tortoises to Joshua trees and breathtaking wildflower blooms – would have been endangered.

“Additionally, surrounding communities whose economies depend on a healthy desert would have suffered in order for a private company to profit. That won’t happen now.

“I applaud Governor Newsom and his longstanding support of this important issue," Feinstein concluded. " I also want to thank California Speaker Rendon, Senator Roth, Assemblymember Friedman and members of the legislature who stood up to protect our iconic desert. Without their leadership and perseverance, this couldn’t have happened.”

Cadiz Inc., tried to sound confident as it dealt with the news of Governor Newsom's signing of SB 307.

“While we believe SB 307 is a troubling precedent for infrastructure development, it will not stop the Cadiz Water Project, a sustainable project designed to safely make available new water for 400,000 people in California, said Cadiz CEO Scott Slater in a news release.  "We stand ready to comply with SB 307, just as we have complied with all of California’s stringent environmental laws.

“We look forward to working closely with the Governor's office, the State Lands Commission and other State Agencies as we complete this public, and transparent procedural step and we are confident that we will continue to demonstrate that the Project is environmentally sound and a worthy part of the solution to California’s persistent water supply challenges."

Thanks to all desert defenders who have taken action to shepherd this legislation through the Senate, Assembly, and to the governor's office for his signature.

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