Letter to the Editor, Desert Sun
In response to Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s comments in Ian James’ recent article: “Plan to pump water from Mojave survives court challenges,” it must be clearly stated, the Cadiz Water Project has not “bypassed” federal environmental review. There is no federal permitting nexus. Co-locating infrastructure in a railroad right of way is commonplace in the West and good public policy, but by no means an avoidance of review.
Last week, the Court of Appeal upheld a multi-year environmental review of the Cadiz Water Project under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), which, known as the nation’s strongest environmental law, is stronger than any federal equivalent.
The CEQA review identified not one “devastating” or “grave” impact to the preserve or any other desert resource. Indeed, the project considered the concerns Sen. Feinstein raised years ago and it was carefully designed to purposely avoid any impacts.
To declare that this week’s affirmative California Court of Appeal decision “changes nothing” demeans the careful work of a well-respected judicial panel, as well as the thoughtful and dutiful consideration by local elected public agency officials, the California Court system and the laws of the state.
Furthermore, it is extremely disingenuous for Sen. Feinstein to accuse the Cadiz Water Project of bypassing a federal environmental review that she has single-handedly forbidden for years using political earmarks.
Wes May, executive director, Engineering Contractors’ Association, Anaheim