22 May SB 307 Update: Bill Passes State Senate
Yesterday, the California State Senate passed Senate Bill 307 by a vote of 21-11, with 6 abstentions. The legislation will now move to the California State Assembly for consideration in committee prior to any floor debate.
The Company issued the following statement regarding the Senate vote:
“California continues to suffer from long-term water supply and housing shortages and solutions to these two critical problems depend on infrastructure improvements that are increasingly difficult to come by. Bills like SB 307, as presently drafted, will make solutions tougher to achieve by setting a troubling precedent of disregarding long-standing state environmental and water policy to target the Cadiz Water Project (“Project”). The Project has already undergone a decade of study, peer review, state environmental impact evaluation, a separate approval by San Bernardino County and was repeatedly validated by the California Courts. At the 11th hour, SB 307 as drafted adds another, setting a new state review in a new forum sought by opponents of the project who had failed in all other venues. Joined by dozens of state and local organizations, we have expressed concern about such an approach to permitting water and other needed infrastructure.
However, we have supported and agreed to additional upfront review of science if it will provide more public and legislative confidence in our project, and we requested amendments to the bill that will help provide us with confidence too that any new review will be fair and focused, not purely an exercise to frustrate and delay the project. We will continue to request amendments as the bill moves over to the Assembly.
The Company has complied with every state and federal law, without limitation, and we will continue to do so. We have operated a unique desert agricultural operation in San Bernardino County for 30 years in a safe and sustainable way. We think any fair further State review of our water project will conclude it is also safe and environmentally sustainable and presents no unreasonable risk of harm to the desert.
In the end, no third-party review is more stringent than the standards we already apply to ourselves. As we continue to productively farm thousands of acres without incident, we will also continue to progress the Project by pursuing best available information, collecting data, and completing technical work to realize our plans to create a safe, clean reliable water supply and offer additional groundwater storage for families, farms, businesses and communities in need across Southern California.”