Following a hearing of its Appropriations subcommittee, the California State Senate set aside Assembly Bill 1000 (AB 1000), legislation introduced on July 3, 2017, through the controversial “gut and amend” process.
A statement from the Southern California Partnership for Jobs noted, “Designed to block the Cadiz Water Project, AB 1000 (Friedman, D- Glendale) would have set a dangerous precedent undercutting the California Environmental Quality Act – the strictest environmental protection law in the nation; usurped local control; and threatened jobs, water and economic growth for Southern California.”
Supported by Gov. Jerry Brown, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, the bill was widely opposed by more than 70 local, state and national organizations, including labor unions, local government groups, chambers, cities, and water agencies, because it was bad policy that would have created new uncertainty for any infrastructure improvement in California, jeopardizing affordable, reliable services for all communities.
State Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said the bill failed to advance because there already is a process in place for such projects to be reviewed.
The Project went through a multi-year public, independent California environmental review process, was approved by California public agencies and upheld by California’s Courts, which confirmed the Project will protect the desert environment.
Moving forward is now possible and the Cadiz Water Project can be a source to add a new water supply in a safe and sustainable manner. It promises to create nearly 6,000 jobs and approximately 400,000 people a year could benefit by capturing and conserving water currently lost to evaporation.
The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is the most robust environmental protection law in the nation. AB 1000 appears to ignore CEQA and would subject a CEQA reviewed project to a do-over by unelected political appointees to overrule decisions already made under CEQA. AB 1000 threatens the strength of our state’s strong protections – a change that should only be considered through thoughtful debate in the full legislative process, not jammed through in the dead of night.
Not only does this measure threaten to kill the nearly 6,000 jobs that would be created by the Cadiz Water Project, but by putting environmental decisions in the hands of unaccountable political appointees, it introduces an end run around the environmental review process that puts at risk future projects and the thousands more good-paying union jobs those projects would create.
“The opponents of the Cadiz project are attempting an end-run around the project’s lawful CEQA process. If this bill becomes law, it would not only affect this project, but also set a dangerous precedent for similar regulatory abuse for any other development project in the state.”
Hasan Ikhrata, Executive Director, Southern California Association of Governments
The project will recover an annual average of 50,000 acre-feet of groundwater before it evaporates.
The Cadiz Water Project will create a new water supply – enough for 100,000 families a year.
The Project would create and support over 5,900 jobs and generate nearly $1 billion in economic activity.
The Cadiz Water Project will have no negative impact on the desert environment, including flora, fauna and wildlife.
Detailed scientific analysis of the Project has confirmed that the groundwater is naturally renewable.
The Cadiz Project offers certainty in both wet and dry years that our water supply will be available.
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