• Steve Brown

Senate Bill 307 is passed by the California Assembly now goes to Gov. Newsom to become law

The California Assembly passed Senate Bill SB 307 today and sent the bill to Governor Newsom for his signature to make it law. The legislation requires new and independent environmental review of the proposed Cadiz Water Project which would sell groundwater from the eastern Mojave Desert to water districts in Orange County. SB 307 protects groundwater vital to the survival of wildlife from Joshua Tree National Park through Mojave Trails National Monument, and up into the Mojave National Preserve, as well as other public lands.

The bill, authored by Senator Richard Roth and passed under the leadership of Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, and previously passed by the California Senate, ensures that Cadiz or other groundwater mining projects in the desert, must undergo a thorough state review to prevent adverse impacts.

“By passing SB 307, the California legislature has sent a message to the Trump administration that science matters and will not be ignored when it comes to protecting our national treasures from the reckless Cadiz groundwater mining project,” said David Lamfrom, California Desert and Wildlife Director for the National Parks Conservation Association. “For the first time, Cadiz will be subject to independent scientific review, which will no doubt prove that the numbers previously used by the company just don’t add up. Senator Richard Roth is a desert, national park and water defender for authoring this legislation to ensure that desert groundwater pumping can serve long-term needs of our wild lands, local communities and businesses.”

“The Legislature has made it clear that the era of driving California’s aquifers into overdraft conditions is over and we must manage these aquifers sustainably for the future,” said Kim Delfino, California Program Director for Defenders of Wildlife. “SB 307 is consistent with that policy. This bill will protect our state’s desert lands and fragile wildlife that rely on these lands for their survival, including the desert tortoise and bighorn sheep, by creating a definitive process for the state to assess proposals to export desert groundwater to other areas of the state to ensure that our aquifers remain sustainably managed and our desert lands and wildlife continue to thrive.”

“As an organization that believes in science, we are thrilled to see the legislature pass SB 307 in an effort to protect our desert lands,” said Kate Hoit, Vet Voice Foundation’s California State Director and OIF veteran. “Cadiz Inc. lacks the credible science to demonstrate that its groundwater mining project can move forward without causing significant harm to the environment, communities, and recreational opportunities cherished by veterans. We thank fellow veteran Senator Richard Roth (Major General, Ret.) for leading the way and applaud him on this tremendous victory for veterans.”

(From the National Parks Conservation Association) Key provisions, facts and benefits of the bill:

Protects important federal and state lands, including Mojave National Preserve and Mojave Trails National Monument.

Passage marks the culmination of a multi-year commitment, originally started by Assemblymember Laura Friedman who carried similar legislation in 2017 and 2018.

SB 307 is authored by Senator Richard Roth (Riverside), principal co-authored by Assemblymember Laura Friedman (Glendale) and Senator Anthony Portantino (La Cañada Flintridge), and co-authored by Assemblymembers Ben Allen (Santa Monica), Todd Gloria (San Diego), Marc Levine (Marin County), Luz Rivas (Arleta) and Mark Stone (Monterey Bay)

Requires the State Lands Commission, in consultation with the Department of Fish and Wildlife and Department of Water Resources, to find no adverse impacts from proposed water export projects from this region, such as Cadiz, before groundwater pumping can be authorized.

Provides a 15-24 month timeframe for the review to be completed upon submittal of an application by the project proponent.

Protects a desert national park tourism economy that in 2018 alone generated $436 million dollars in economic output in local communities, created over 4,100 sustainable jobs, and generated over $161 million in labor income.

Reconciles the science. For the first time, Cadiz must undergo environmental review by an entity that is independent and not a project beneficiary.

327 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All