Press Release Aug 1, 2019

California Governor Newsom Signs Bill to Protect Desert Water, Wildlife and Parks

SB307 requires state environmental review of Cadiz Inc. and desert water mining proposals

SACRAMENTO – California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law Senate Bill 307 (SB 307) last night, defending California desert water, wildlife and parks. The legislation, authored by Senator Richard Roth, will prevent the Cadiz Inc. or other desert water export proposals from advancing potentially harmful groundwater mining projects without state review, verifying that no adverse impacts would occur to desert waters, wildlife and lands.

In a statement accompanying the bill signing, Governor Newsom stated, “What has flowed underneath the Mojave for thousands of years, sustaining the Native Americans, bighorn sheep, the threatened desert tortoise and a variety of other plant and animal life…. Prior to allowing any project to move forward there must be certainty that it not threaten the important natural and cultural resources.”

“By signing SB 307, Governor Newsom has made clear that California will step in to defend water supply, wildlife, national parks and monuments, when the Trump administration neglects its job,” said Chris Clarke, California Desert Program Manager for the National Parks Conservation Association. We thank Senator Richard Roth for putting real science and the health of our communities first, in the face of this administration’s attempts to fast-track the Cadiz water mining proposal.”

Senator Feinstein applauded Governor Newsom’s actions and has long supported the legislation and fought the Cadiz Inc. proposal, alongside NPCA and a broad range of water agencies, community and tribal leaders, elected officials, former Park Service officials, and others.

Key provisions, facts and benefits of SB 307:

  • Protects important federal and state lands, including Mojave National Preserve and Mojave Trails National Monument.

  • Stops the Cadiz project from being developed unless the State first certifies the project will have no adverse impacts to natural and cultural resources, a standard Cadiz has already failed considering the CA Department of Fish and Wildlife’s December 2018 letter to Cadiz’s CEO stating Cadiz’s science is flawed.

  • Signing marks the culmination of a multi-year commitment, originally started by Assemblymember Laura Friedman who carried similar legislation in 2017 and 2018.

  • SB 307 was authored by Senator Richard Roth (Riverside), principal co-authored by Assemblymember Laura Friedman (Glendale) and Senator Anthony Portantino (La Cañada Flintridge), and co-authored by Assemblymembers Ben Allen (Santa Monica), Todd Gloria (San Diego), Marc Levine (Marin County), Luz Rivas (Arleta) and Mark Stone (Monterey Bay)

  • Requires the State Lands Commission, in consultation with the Department of Fish and Wildlife and Department of Water Resources, to find no adverse impacts from proposed water export projects from this region, such as Cadiz, before groundwater pumping can be authorized.

  • Provides a 15-24 month timeframe for the review to be completed upon submittal of an application by the project proponent, at the earliest on January 1, 2020, when the legislation goes into effect.

  • Protects a desert national park tourism economy that in 2018 alone generated $436 million dollars in economic output in local communities, created over 4,100 sustainable jobs, and generated over $161 million in labor income.

  • Reconciles the science. For the first time, Cadiz must undergo environmental review by an entity that is independent and not a project beneficiary.

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