Representative Cook Echoes a Broad Coalition of Groups Urging for Federal Review of Desert Water Mining Proposal

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   July 25, 2013
Contact:   Kati Schmidt, Senior Media Relations Manager, National Parks Conservation Association: 415-728-0840; Cell: 415-847-1768
David Lamfrom, California Desert Senior Program Manager, National Parks Conservation Association: 760-219-4916


Representative Cook Echoes a Broad Coalition of Groups Urging for Federal Review of Desert Water Mining Proposal

San Bernardino, CA – Calling for environmental review by the Department of Interior, Representative Paul Cook (R-CA) has joined a broad range of voices expressing concern over the proposed Cadiz Valley Water Conservation, Recovery, and Storage Project (Cadiz Project).

The release of Cook’s letter comes as the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) continues to consider whether to grant railroad right-of-way usage to the Cadiz Project. Such usage rights are only granted for projects that have a direct impact on the railroad system. Cadiz claims its proposal fulfills this requirement – an argument that the opposition believes holds as much weight as a desert mirage. Representative Cook’s call for further review have been  echoed by thousands of citizens in the desert and beyond including  a prominent rancher, the National Parks Conservation Association, the National Chloride Company of America, the Mayor of Needles, and the Joshua Basin Water District.

In a letter dated June 12 to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, Representative Cook stated the likely impacts that the current Cadiz Project proposal would have on San Bernardino County ranchers, rural communities, landowners, and corporations that rely on the water resources. He also expressed concerns that the pumping could have on the nearby Mojave National Preserve, and potential impact to air quality.

“I have serious concerns regarding the Cadiz Valley Conservation, Recovery and Storage Project,” said Representative Paul Cook. “A project of this scale has the potential to seriously harm the environment and residents of the Mojave Desert if additional testing isn’t completed. That’s why I’ve requested a thorough federal review to ensure that we operate with facts, not flawed assumptions.” 

“I am against any project that will take water out of the desert and sent it to the cities. The desert does not recharge water like other environments. Sometimes we go years with little or no rain,” said ranch owner Rob Blair. “My ranch lies entirely within the identified recharge basin for the Cadiz Water Project. My family has been ranching here since 1913 and we have developed over 30 springs and wells for livestock and wildlife use. If my wells and springs go dry, I will not be able to continue ranching.”

Despite ongoing calls for federal environmental review or approval, no such examination has been conducted.

“The Joshua Basin Water District Board is aware that many desert areas, including ours, are in a state of overdraft requiring that we import water from Northern California,” said Mickey Luckman, President of the Joshua Basin Water District. “Before water is exported from the desert, we believe there should be scientific certainty that the exportation will neither create another overdraft situation nor will it have a significant impact on the delicate and sensitive desert environment.”

“We applaud Representative Cook for taking a stand in calling for federal examination of this water mining proposal,” said David Lamfrom, California Desert Senior Program Manager for the National Parks Conservation Association. “Fatal flaws were identified when the Cadiz Project was proposed 10 years ago, and it is currently being challenged in court by the National Parks Conservation Association and partner organizations, for the rightful concerns expressed by our elected officials and community neighbors – as well as for its potential impact to Mojave National Preserve, one of the largest national parks in the continental United States. We believe that Cadiz Inc. is trying to elude federal review, because full reckoning will prove that it is unsustainable and that it will harm our desert national parks, communities, businesses, and wildlife. This project was approved by the very water agency that will purchase the water, a step-skipping approach that lacks federal review or public participation.”
 
Click here for additional comments by citizens and organizations concerned by the proposed Cadiz Project.

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