Monday December 6, 2021

Law Street Media

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and other defendants in an environmental challenge suit have asked the Central District of California for permission to halt plans enabling a real estate developer to  operate a pipeline transporting water between Cadiz and Barstow, California. The weekend-filed motion for remand explains that the BLM’s prior decision in favor of Cadiz Real Estate LLC contravened the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and did not sufficiently evaluate possible impacts to historic properties under the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA).

According to a press release issued by the Center for Biological Diversity, one of the environmental groups who challenged the decision, the Trump Administration agreed to give Cadiz a right-of-way facilitating its attempt to drain fragile and ancient aquifers under the Mojave Desert to feed new developments in Southern California. The environmental group said that pipeline’s water use would be unsustainable and that Cadiz’s privately funded study exaggerated the aquifer’s recharge rate.

According to the Center, the project also threatened to desiccate “life-sustaining desert springs,” hurting vegetation and key habitat for wildlife including desert tortoises, bighorn sheep, Mojave fringe-toed lizards, and kit foxes.

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