Thursday February 1, 2024

Courthouse News Service

Water agencies that receive diversions from the Kern River want a judge to dismiss parts of a lawsuit against the city of Bakersfield, arguing environmental groups haven’t properly argued there’s a claim to litigate.

However, the judge in the case indicated he wouldn’t rule in favor of the agencies on the one claim attorneys say could potentially affect the existing preliminary injunction requiring a certain level of flow to protect fish.

Attorneys argued Wednesday before Kern County Superior Court Judge Greg Pulskamp. The judge in October issued the preliminary injunction about water flows and tweaked it in late December, days before water agencies filed their notice of demurrer — a specific kind of motion to dismiss.

Organizations including Bring Back the Kern, Water Audit California and the Center for Biological Diversity sued Bakersfield in 2022 over water diversions, saying they hurt wildlife habitats and the river’s ecosystem.

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