We are disappointed that the California Legislature’s Senate Committee on Natural Resources voted yesterday on a party line 7-2 vote to pass out of committee Assembly Bill (AB) 1000, a bill just introduced by Assembly member Laura Friedman (D-Glendale) over the Independence Day holiday. Assembly member Friedman utilized the “gut and amend” process to quietly change a pre-existing bill and load it with new language that seeks to derail reliable water supplies in Southern California without consultation with those who may be impacted by such legislation.
AB 1000 is a deeply flawed, unconstitutional bill that targets a single project, usurps local control and undercuts the revered California Environmental Quality Act to review environmental impacts. Setting a terrible precedent, AB 1000 would overrule the judgment of local agencies even where California’s Courts have already reviewed and approved their decisions.
The Bill faces substantial opposition and numerous steps remain ahead of AB 1000 before it could become law. We will work vigorously with the broad, growing coalition of opposition to block this bill from advancing and demonstrate that such an extraordinary action is both unlawful and unwise.
The Cadiz Water Project is a California project that has been thoroughly and publicly reviewed and approved by two separate California public agencies in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), widely known as the most stringent environmental law in the U.S. During this review process, Project operations were found to have no adverse impacts on the environment, including state and federal lands referenced in AB 1000. Then, these findings were unanimously and unequivocally upheld in 12 separate cases by independent justices in California’s Courts. Yet, AB 1000 would require two additional state agencies, at considerable cost to the taxpayers, to newly review the Project despite the permits and approvals already received in accordance with CEQA.
The Cadiz Water Project has rigorously followed established state processes to create a safe, sustainable water supply for 400,000 people without harm to the environment and will meet any hurdle fairly applied to it and others. Sadly, AB 1000 is not about creating fair processes or better protecting desert resources. It is a thinly-veiled effort to obstruct a fully-reviewed and approved new water supply project and to needlessly delay a significant reliable water supply, new groundwater storage capacity, nearly $1 billion in economic activity and close to 6,000 jobs, including hundreds of jobs reserved for military veterans.
AB 1000 has attracted broad opposition not only because of its targeted attack on greater water supply reliability for Southern California, but also because of the dangerous precedent it creates for all projects reviewed and approved under CEQA. If our water project can be targeted in this manner, then any water project – and indeed, any project approved under CEQA – is in jeopardy of similar treatment in any part of California.”
For these reasons, we have joined with water districts, labor unions, the California business, science, and academic communities to strongly oppose this flawed legislation.
In the short time allowed by the Committee following AB 1000’s holiday introduction, more than 40 local, state and national organizations came out in opposition to the bill, including:
State Building Trades & Construction Council of California
Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA)
Southern California Water Committee
Three Valleys Municipal Water District
Twentynine Palms Water District
Santa Margarita Water District
Southern California Partnership for Jobs
Southern California Association of Governments
American Groundwater Trust
California Chamber of Commerce
Inland Empire Economic Partnership
Imperial County Farm Bureau
Engineering Contractors Association
San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership
California Business Properties Association
International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 12
Building Industry Association of Southern California
BIZFED – Los Angeles County Business Federation
Orange County Business Council
To view a selection of letters filed in opposition to AB1000, click here.
To view Cadiz Inc.’s letter to the Senate Committee, click here.
The text of AB 1000 is available here