It has been reported recently that President Obama may soon exercise his powers under the 110 year-old Antiquities Act to designate National Monuments in the Southern California Desert at the urging of Senator Dianne Feinstein. Included in the proposal is the Mojave Trails National Monument, which will cover nearly 1 million acres of the eastern Mojave Desert including lands near and adjacent to Cadiz Inc. property.
Under federal law and the Antiquities Act, national monument designations are limited only to federal lands. As a result, none of Cadiz’s private property rights are subject to, or will be impaired by, an Antiquities Act designation. This includes farming water rights, the Cadiz Water Project approvals, easements and all rights-of-way. The Company therefore anticipates no adverse impact of any kind on its current and planned land use activities, such as agricultural or water project operations, as a result of a monument designation under the Antiquities Act.
While we are confident the President’s designation cannot adversely impact the Company’s property rights, Cadiz joins others in the region in opposing the use of the Antiquities Act unilaterally to establish monuments in the California desert when viable legislative options remain open, including a bill by Congressman Paul Cook, who represents the entire proposed Monument area. In our view, a locally-developed, Congressional solution with federal appropriations outlined for maintenance and protection is greatly preferred by the local, affected communities and is more likely to be successful over the long-term than a unilateral presidential action.