21 Oct Press Release: Third Lawsuit Challenging Cadiz Water Project Dismissed
Dismissal by Laborers International Union Follows Completion of New Independent Hydrology Report
(Los Angeles, CA) — Cadiz Inc. [NASDAQ:CDZI] (“Cadiz”, the “Company”) reported today that a lawsuit filed in 2012 challenging the environmental approvals of the Cadiz Valley Water Conservation, Recovery and Storage Project (“Project”) has been dismissed with prejudice in Orange County, California Superior Court. The lawsuit, filed against the Company, the Santa Margarita Water District (“SMWD”) and the County of San Bernardino (“County”), is the third case challenging Project approval to be dismissed. Only two challengers now remain. This latest dismissal follows the completion of a new independent peer review of the Project’s hydrology, which responds to previous hydrologic criticisms of the Project and confirms that the Project can safely deliver a reliable water supply to Southern California.
“Thanks to this independent report and the assurances from Cadiz regarding worker safety, we are now convinced that the Project can provide a safe, sustainable water supply while also creating much-needed local jobs and investment,” said Richard Sierra, Business Manager from LIUNA Local 783. “We encourage local, state and federal government agencies and all interested parties to move quickly to remove any further impediments to Project construction and we express our unqualified support.”
The Project will provide a new reliable water supply for 100,000 Southern California families by capturing and conserving groundwater currently being lost to evaporation from the aquifer system beneath the Company’s property in the Mojave Desert. A second phase of the Project would provide underground storage for water imported to the area. Required project facilities include a wellfield, a 43-mile steel pipeline, as well as power and ancillary facilities. The first phase of the Project was approved in 2012 in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) by SMWD and the County.
To address LIUNA’s concerns regarding the Project, Anthony Brown, one of Southern California’s most respected hydrologists and Principal Hydrologist at Aquilogic, an environmental and water resources consulting company, was engaged to conduct an independent review of the Project hydrology and evaluate the merits of criticisms. After being given unrestricted access to the Project site, data and modeling, Brown’s report concludes that the Project as approved will not lead to significant impacts to critical resources, such as land surface elevation, water quality or regional springs.
“Criticisms of the Project’s hydrology are scientifically unsupportable,” said Anthony Brown, M.Sc. Engineering Hydrology. “There is solid measured evidence of significant evaporation occurring in the system and given the low amount of proposed pumping relative the significant size of the basin, the Cadiz Project can be intelligently managed to provide a new beneficial use without any harm.”
“LIUNA’s effort to find common ground based on the latest independent science has ended the lawsuit, and we are pleased to move ahead with union support,” said Scott Slater, Cadiz CEO. “The Cadiz Project means water and jobs for thousands across Southern California and the new report, which corroborates the massive amount of previous study, further demonstrates that both water supply reliability and economic growth can be realized without adversely impacting the environment.”
Project construction is expected to create nearly 5,900 jobs, including 3,500 on site, generate more than $878 million in economic activity and infuse tens of millions in tax revenue to local governments over the two phases, according to leading Inland Empire economist John E. Husing, Ph.D. In 2011, the Company pledged to purchase 80% of the materials necessary to construct the Project’s facilities from County businesses and to dedicate 50% of the Project’s jobs to County residents, including a goal of 10% for local veterans.
The Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario metropolitan area continues to have one of the highest unemployment rates in California according to the state’s Employment Development Department. The metropolitan area’s unemployment rate measured 10.4% in August 2013, above both the national average of 7.3% and California’s level of 8.8% for the same time period.
LIUNA is the third party to dismiss its lawsuit challenging the Project’s 2012 approvals. Cases brought by two additional petitioners remain outstanding against the Project. These cases are coordinated in Orange County Superior Court before one judge and are set for trial in December. To learn more about the Project, visit http://www.water4socal.com. A copy of the Aquilogic report is available at http://cadizinc.wpengine.com.
Founded in 1983, Cadiz Inc. is a publicly-held renewable resources company that owns 70 square miles of property with significant water resources in Southern California. The Company is engaged in organic farming and water supply and storage projects at its properties and abides by a wide-ranging “Green Compact” focused on environmental conservation and sustainable practices to manage its land, water and agricultural resources. For more information about Cadiz, visit http://cadizinc.wpengine.com/.
About LIUNA Local 783
LIUNA—the Laborers’ International Union of North America— is the most progressive, aggressive and fastest-growing union of construction workers, and one of the most significant unions representing public service employees. The half-million members of LIUNA are on the forefront of the construction industry, a powerhouse of workers who are proud to build America. Local 783 represents the men and women of LIUNA in California’s San Bernardino, Inyo and Mono Counties.
About Anthony Brown, Aquilogic
Anthony Brown, M.Sc. Engineering Hydrology, is an environmental professional with over 20 years of experience in hydrology, hydrogeology, water quality, fate and transport of contaminants, groundwater remediation, regulatory strategy, water resources evaluation, and water supply engineering. Mr. Brown is presently CEO and Principal Hydrologist at Aquilogic, a Southern California-based water resources and environmental consulting firm. Previously Mr. Brown served in senior executive positions at Worley Parsons and Komex Environmental. Mr. Brown has prepared over 2000 written project reports and presented and published numerous articles on a variety of environmental and water resources issues. Mr. Brown has also provided expert services to many prominent environmental law firms, the California Attorney General’s Office, the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office, and numerous City Attorneys. In addition, Mr. Brown has briefed Federal, State and local elected officials and agency staff and has appeared on National and Local news shows.
Contact: Courtney Degener, 213-271-1600
FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENT: This release contains forward-looking statements that are subject to significant risks and uncertainties, including statements related to the future operating and financial performance of the Company and the financing activities of the Company. Although the Company believes that the expectations reflected in our forward-looking statements are reasonable, it can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct. Factors that could cause actual results or events to differ materially from those reflected in the Company’s forward-looking statements include the Company’s ability to maximize value for Cadiz land and water resources, the Company’s ability to obtain new financing as needed, the receipt of additional permits for the water project and other factors and considerations detailed in the Company’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings.