Cadiz Inc. announces updates on Cadiz Water Project
Status report details pending legal and administrative determinations for the public-private partnership with California water providers .
LOS ANGELES, Feb. 17, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Cadiz Inc. (the “Company”) announced a status report on pending legal and administrative determinations for the Cadiz Water Project, a public-private partnership with California water providers to deliver a new sustainable water supply to 400,000 people annually across Southern California.
As previously reported by the Company, the Cadiz Water Project requires a pre-construction certification from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) that its 43-mile water conveyance pipeline and related improvements, planned for an existing railroad right-of-way corridor, will further railroad purposes and therefore require no federal permitting.
In January 2015, Cadiz, Santa Margarita Water District (“SMWD”) and the Arizona & California Railroad provided a detailed filing to the BLM describing the railroad purposes furthered by the Project’s pipeline, including in-line power generation, fire suppression, fiber-optic communications, maintenance access and a venture for the operation of a tourist steam-engine train.
In October 2015 the outgoing director of BLM’s California Office issued guidance finding that despite its furtherance of railroad purposes, the Project pipeline was outside the scope of the railroad right-of-way and would require a new federal permit. Click here to read the Company’s press release about the October 2015 guidance and the railroad purposes furthered by the Project.
Following the issuance of the October 2015 guidance, several members of Congress raised concerns to BLM National Director Neil Kornze about the guidance’s inconsistencies with existing federal policy governing third party railroad right-of-way use. And, in December 2015, a bipartisan group of nine California Congressional representatives sent a letter to Director Kornze requesting his reconsideration of the BLM California guidance.
Late last week, the Company received a copy of communication sent from Director Kornze to the various Congressional offices in response to their December letter. The response letter from Director Kornze explains that the October 2015 guidance was not a final determination and can be revisited by BLM at any time. Mr. Kornze also informs the Members that he has asked the newly appointed California State Director Jerome Perez to meet with Project representatives to “review the issue.”
“We along with the many Project stakeholders welcome the opportunity to meet with BLM California Director Perez as soon as possible, so we can collectively remove all doubt that the widely-supported Project pipeline substantially serves railroad purposes while also delivering water that would otherwise evaporate into the atmosphere every year,” said Scott Slater, Cadiz CEO and President.
The Company also received notice that the California Court of Appeals 4th District has scheduled for late March 2016 the oral argument phase in the six appeals of the Project’s 2014 trial court victories, which upheld all of the Project’s environmental approvals under the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”).
The 2014 trial court decisions reviewed and sustained the 18-month environmental review of the Project conducted in 2011 to 2012 in accordance with CEQA, as well as the unanimous certification of the Project’s environmental documents by the SMWD Board of Directors on July 31, 2012, and the separate and independent review and approval of the Project by the County of San Bernardino under its prescient Desert Groundwater Ordinance in October 2012, all of which had been challenged by Project opponents.
Oral argument in the Appellate Court follows the full briefing of the cases by all parties. This includes the 11 Amicus Curiae “friend of the court” briefs filed in support of the Project approvals last year by a broad cross-section of local government bodies, trade groups, labor groups, water agencies, non-governmental organizations and other interested parties.
Founded in 1983, Cadiz Inc. is a publicly-held renewable resources company that owns 70 square miles of property with significant water resources in Southern California. The Company operates an organic agricultural development in the Cadiz Valley of eastern San Bernardino County, California and is partnering with public water agencies to implement the Cadiz Water Project, which over two phases will create a new water supply for approximately 100,000 Southern California families and make available up to 1 million acre-feet of new groundwater storage capacity. The Company abides by a wide-ranging “Green Compact” focused on environmental conservation and sustainable practices to manage its land, water and agricultural resources. For more information about Cadiz, visit http://www.cadizinc.com/.