The project proposes to mine ground water from the eastern Mojave Desert in California. The River Branch of the Archaeological Heritage Association (RiverAHA) has withdrawn the only federal lawsuit filed against the massive water mine project.
Four related lawsuits filed against Cadiz, Inc.'s project remain active in the California State courts.
The federal lawsuit filed by Ruth Musser-Lopez, on behalf of RiverAHA, targeted Cadiz, Inc., the Santa Margarita Water District, the County of San Bernardino, the U.S. Department of the Interior, its secretary Kenneth Salazar, and the Bureau of Land Management.
The litigation attempted to seek a temporary restraining order, and an injunction, to halt the County of San Bernardino's approval of the project until the environmental study included a federal review under the National Historic Preservation Act and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act.
The federal court denied the requests based upon a lack of jurisdiction and procedural issues; however, contrary to published reports by the project's principle promoter, Cadiz, Inc., the court did not dismiss the case.
The court instructed that the cited federal protective laws do not allow individuals the right to file a redress action before the exhaustion of administrative remedies. Musser-Lopez then strategically withdrew the complaint without prejudice, leaving open the possibility of later refiling.
The voluntary removal leaves unanswered the legal merits of the complaint alleging the failure of Obama's Administration to enforce federal laws passed to protect cultural and environmental resources.
The Cadiz water source contains chromium-6, a carcinogen, at a level higher than that stated to be acceptable to the Metropolitan Water District, operator of the aqueduct that would transport the project water to coastal community water systems.
The Cadiz environmental report asserts hydrologic models in conflict with U.S. Geological Survey findings.
Stating that the project is unsustainable, John Bredehoeft, formerly with the U.S. Geological Survey, together with hydrologist Newsha Ajami, reported "...the project relies on unsustainable mining of groundwater" and that it is designed to extract groundwater at a rate exceeding and significantly greater than the natural recharge from rain and snow. The average extraction rate is estimated to be 2 to 10 times the recharge rate, but could be more.
U. S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) Feinstein is considered the project's greatest adversary in Washington, D.C. expressing serous concerns that the project would endanger the ecosystem of the Mojave National Preserve. The designation of the preserve is considered a landmark accomplishment in Feinstein's service as a U.S. Senator representing California.
On October 1, 2012, the County of San Bernardino's Board of Supervisors snubbed Feinstein's resistance to the project in their 4-1 vote to approve it.
According to http://CadizWater.com, Obama appointee Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar, has benefited Cadiz, Inc.'s project by refusing to enforce protective historical and environmental regulations.
Lloyd G. Carter, former California Deputy Attorney General and water law lawyer, observed "Ken Salazar, the current Interior Secretary, owes his political career to Brownstein (lawfirm), which managed his campaigns for Colorado State Attorney General and the U.S. Senate" (lloydgcarter.com).
The same Brownstein law firm has promoted the Cadiz Project and represents Cadiz, Inc. in the five lawsuits filed against the project.
Citing quarterly reports and SEC filings, Rancho Santa Margarita (CA), Home Owners Association president and business owner Craig Innis, expressed concern that potential defaults and foreclosures on multi-million dollar loans borrowed by Cadiz, Inc. could place project liability upon ratepayers should the private company file for bankruptcy.
Newberry Springs Community Alliance