Thursday June 27, 2024

San Francisco Bay Keeper

Late last week, the Sacramento County Superior Court stopped the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) from performing invasive investigatory geological work the agency deemed necessary before building the controversial Delta tunnel. This decision effectively shuts the project down until DWR complies with the law and the court’s order. 

The court’s action comes in response to a request by a broad group including Tribes, environmental and public interest nonprofits, recreational and commercial fishing interests, Sacramento and San Joaquin Counties, and other public agencies. 

The court found that the proposed geotechnical work was unlawful at this stage. Under the Delta Reform Act of 2009, enacted to protect the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the tunnel must be approved by the Delta Stewardship Council before project implementation can begin. Performing the geotechnical work—extensive trenching, boring, and excavating massive test pits—is the start of implementing the project, therefore requiring approvals the DWR has not yet sought.

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