Court documents: Second lawsuit filed against the Delta Plan, alleges violations of the Administrative Procedure Act, the Delta Reform Act, CEQA, and the Public Trust doctrine

gavel_scale_of_justice_400_clr_2880A second lawsuit has been filled against the Delta Stewardship Council’s recently-adopted Delta Plan.

Aqua Alliance, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, California Water Impact Network (C-WIN), Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the River and Restore the Delta allege that the Delta Stewardship Council, in adopting the final Delta Plan and its regulations and certifying the environmental documents,  failed to comply with the Delta Reform Act, CEQA, and the public trust.

The Plaintiffs say the Council did not ‘disclose, consider, analyze, or incorporate the findings and recommendations’ contained in the State Water Resources Control Board’s Development of Flow Criteria for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Ecosystem, the fisheries agencies’ Quantifiable Biological Objectives and Flow Criteria for Aquatic and Terrestrial Species of Concern Dependent on the Delta, or the Delta Protection Commission’s Economic Sustainability Plan for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta as required by the Delta Reform Act.

The documents also state that petitioners, government agencies, and the public voiced “significant concerns” regarding legal deficiencies and multiple violations of the Delta Reform Act, the California Government Code, CEQA, and the public trust doctrine.  However, despite these identified problems, the DSC certified the PEIR, approved the Delta Plan and implementing Regulations on May 17, 2013, thereby violating the state Administrative Procedure Act, the Delta Reform Act, CEQA, and the Public Trust doctrine.

Therefore (excerpted from 9 and 10):

(28) The DSC has abused its discretion and failed to act as required by law. As result of the DSC approval of the Delta Plan, the implementing Regulations, and certification of the PEIR, Petitioners and their members will suffer great and irreparable harm to their interests, including recreation, boating, kayaking, fishing, conservation, wildlife viewing, and other activities as described herein. Petitioners have no adequate remedy at law for this irreparable harm.

(29) The Plan will harm pelagic and anadromous fisheries in the Bay-Delta and its watershed by failing to consider the timing and quantity of flows to ensure ecosystem health, by encouraging and catalyzing the construction of new water delivery conveyance and upstream water storage, and by prioritizing water deliveries over ecosystem restoration. Harm to the pelagic and anadromous fishery in the Bay-Delta and its watershed harms Petitioners and their members by threatening impairment of their use and enjoyment of these species and their habitat.

(30) The DSC’s failure to proceed in the manner required by law, failure to comply with CEQA prior to adopting the Delta Plan and Regulations, and the resulting certification of the PEIR, will result in a new, upstream conveyance that has the capacity to further reduce the already significantly depleted freshwater flows in the Sacramento River, its tributaries, sloughs, and the Delta and the Bay. Petitioners and their members will suffer great and irreparable injury caused by the reduced flows that will result from implementation of the Delta Plan policies and recommendations which in turn will harm fisheries habitat and recreational opportunities in areas in and upstream of the Delta.

(31) The PEIR and the DSC’s violation of the law in creating the Delta Plan and its implementing Regulations will cause harm to Bay-Delta fisheries. Harm to the Bay-Delta fisheries has had, and continues to have, a substantial negative impact on Petitioners’ organizational members use and enjoyment of the Bay-Delta.

(32) Mismanagement of water resources in the Bay-Delta as a result of the Delta Plan, including over-pumping of the Bay-Delta and by the over-appropriation of water for excess water delivery south of the Bay-Delta, will deplete local rivers, sloughs, and lakes, and harm salmonids that travel through the lakes and streams used and enjoyed by Petitioners and their members.

Read the full text of the document here:  Delta Complaint FINAL


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