Ag Today November 29, 2017

Environmental groups sue Trump administration over California desert groundwater project

Sammy Roth, The Desert Sun Published 1:16 p.m. PT Nov. 28, 2017 | Updated 10:21 p.m. PT Nov. 28, 2017

Environmental groups are suing the Trump administration over its decision supporting a company’s plan to pump up to 16.3 billion gallons of groundwater each year from a Mojave Desert aquifer and build a pipeline to sell that water to Southern California cities.

Conservationists say the plan proposed by Los Angeles-based Cadiz Inc. would threaten natural springs and wildlife in Mojave Trails National Monument, which surrounds Cadiz’s land, 75 miles northeast of Palm Springs. Company officials disagree.

To get the water to coastal cities, Cadiz wants to build a 43-mile pipeline alongside railroad tracks to the Colorado River Aqueduct, which would carry the water the rest of the way.

The Obama administration had ruled Cadiz needed a new permit to build that pipeline, a process that would prompt an environmental review and a public-comment period. But the Trump administration reversed that decision in October, saying Cadiz could build its pipeline under an existing railroad right-of-way without additional environmental scrutiny.

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