Butte Environmental Council Wins Water Lawsuit

March, 16, 2010

The Superior Court of California ruled that the state has to comply with environmental reviews when proposing water transfers under the State’s Drought Water Bank (DWB) program.

The Superior Court of California County of Alameda ruled in favor of BEC, et al, in their lawsuit against the California Department of Water Resources and the DWB program. This is an important win for California’s water and environment. Requiring the state to comply with environmental laws will support sustainable water use which will ensure that our groundwater remains a healthy, natural resource.

Last February the Governor issued a proclamation claiming an emergency drought and sought to implement water transfers without following California environmental law, specifically the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). BEC hired the legal team of Lippe, Gaffney and Wagner to challenge the exemption because the relatively mild drought is not an emergency situation caused by nature but rather a regulatory drought caused by mismanagement. In April, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance and the California Water Impact Network joined BEC as partners (in name only) in the case against a long list of powerful water districts and agencies who joined the State’s effort to facilitate water transfers without following environmental law.

The Butte Environmental Council has been at the forefront of environmental activism in Butte County and the northern Sacramento Valley since 1975. They are located in downtown Chico and have office hours Monday-Thursday 9:30am-5:00pm.

Robin Huffman
Butte Environmental Council