Press Release Sep 1, 2017

State Senate Deserts California Desert, Endangers Mojave Trails National Monument

Today, the California Senate Appropriations Committee refused to consider and vote on AB1000, the California Desert Protection Act. Authored by Assemblymember Laura Friedman, the legislation aimed to safeguard groundwater in California's Mojave Desert that sustains wildlife and parks including Mojave Trails National Monument and Mojave National Preserve and wildlife.

Statement by David Lamfrom, California Desert Director for National Parks Conservation Association

“Shamefully, it appears that Senate Pro Tem Kevin DeLeon’s and Senator Ricardo Lara’s support for healthy parks and water supplies does not extend to the California Desert. DeLeon has been a leading voice in resisting harmful actions by the Trump Administration, but has decided to sit by idly while the Trump-backed Cadiz project is deregulated and fast-tracked, despite known issues with bad science and environmental harm.

“The Trump Administration rolled back existing federal review requirements of the project earlier this year, which created the need for Assemblymember Friedman’s legislation.

“AB 1000, which sought to apply safeguards to harmful projects such as the Cadiz Inc. proposal that seeks to drain 16 billion gallons of water per year from the Mojave Desert is commonsense. Cadiz is the biggest threat to our state’s largest National Monument, Mojave Trails. Senators DeLeon and Lara held this bill from receiving a vote, despite strong support from the Governor and Lieutenant Governor.

“National Parks Conservation Association has spent more than a decade fighting to protect fragile water resources in the California desert that our parks and wildlife rely on. We support Mojave Trails National Monument and understand that Cadiz, through support from the Administration, has placed a bulls-eye on it. Our partners, our community, and our champions understand that this effort does not end with today’s disappointment, and it does not end with Cadiz draining our precious desert. We will fight for what is sacred in the Mojave.“

Background: Today, the California Senate Appropriations Committee refused to consider and vote on AB1000, the California Desert Protection Act. Authored by Assemblymember Laura Friedman, the legislation aimed to safeguard groundwater in California’s Mojave Desert that sustains wildlife and parks including Mojave Trails National Monument and Mojave National Preserve and wildlife. The legislation stood to safeguard the desert from an unsustainable threat that has persisted for 20 years: the Cadiz Inc. water mining proposal. Cadiz Inc. seeks to pump 16 billion gallons of water each year for 50 years, from the heart of Mojave Trails National Monument and the aquifers connected to Mojave National Preserve and Joshua Tree National Park.

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