NEWS WORTH NOTING, Cadiz edition: Senator Feinstein issues statement on new Cadiz study; Cadiz, Inc. responds to Desert Sun article
Feinstein: New Study Shows Extent of Damage Cadiz Project Would Cause
New evidence calls into question Cadiz’s CEQA review, shows surrounding desert springs are connected
From the Office of Senator Dianne Feinstein:
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) released the following statement on a peer-reviewed scientific study by the Mojave Desert Land Trust that confirms the Cadiz Water Project would severely harm vital desert springs by draining a life-sustaining aquifer:
“This study proves that the aquifer Cadiz seeks to drain is connected to critical desert springs, contrary to Cadiz’s claims. Given this new information, I strongly believe Cadiz’s CEQA review must be reexamined.
“The greed of this company is unsurpassed. Despite overwhelming scientific evidence of the damage it would cause, Cadiz is still trying to profit by exploiting a vital source of water for desert tortoises, bighorn sheep and other desert life.
“When this project was initially proposed, the U.S. Geological Survey, an independent scientific agency in the Interior Department, determined the natural recharge rate of the basin to be 2,000 to 10,000 acre-feet a year, far less than 50,000 acre-feet Cadiz wants to extract. The USGS reconfirmed that determination in a letter last year. We now know withdrawing that much water would also dry up neighboring springs.
“The USGS wasn’t the only agency that dismissed Cadiz’s wild assertions. The National Park Service also criticized Cadiz’s flawed environmental documents, stating, ‘It is inappropriate to conclude “a priori” that all springs in the watershed area are hydraulically discontinuous with the target aquifer.’ This latest scientific study backs up the department’s view.
“Cadiz needs to accept this new scientific study and abandon its goal of draining the Mojave Desert of its most precious resource: water. It’s time Cadiz and its investors give up on this desert boondoggle.”
Physical Evidence Demonstrates Cadiz Water Project Won’t Impact Springs, Yet Desert Sun Takes Sides
From Cadiz, Inc.:
Yesterday, The Desert Sun reported on a study funded by a Cadiz Water Project opponent that speculates the Project could adversely impact Bonanza Spring. The County of San Bernardino and a Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) previously concluded otherwise based on the fact that the Spring is more than 11 miles away, separated by unsaturated soil and 1,000 feet higher in elevation than planned Project operations. The Project’s CEQA evaluation and the County approval were reviewed, sustained and validated 12 times by California trial and appellate courts.
This was followed in 2013 by a separate and independent hydrologic study by professional hydrogeologist Anthony Brown of Aqualogic. Brown confirmed the distance, elevation and strata are physical barriers to the Project having any impacts on Bonanza Spring.
In Fall 2017, geologist Dr. Miles Kenney undertook a further in-depth review of the geology in the area of Bonanza Spring and, in January 2018, Dr. Kenney and hydrogeologist Terry Foreman completed their peer-reviewed report on Bonanza Spring’s geology and hydrology. They found that indeed the Spring is physically disconnected from the Project well-field for yet another and even more compelling reason: The existence of two, observable faults intervening between the Spring and the Fenner Valley Watershed.
The opponent’s study reported on by the Desert Sun is silent on the findings in the Kenney/Foreman study, which described and mapped two obvious faults that hydraulically separate Bonanza Spring from the Cadiz Water Project. Kenney/Foreman also compiled evidence of a watershed of more than 3,000 acres created by the faults that feeds the spring’s flow. The Kenney/Foreman study was separately peer reviewed by five licensed professionals and presented on site to a group of 12 experts in the fields of geology, hydrology and hydrogeology, including the former director of the United States Geological Survey.
The opposition’s study ignores site-specific geologic mapping and relies entirely on water chemistry. The study further cherry-picks only some of the available chemistry and temperature data and guesses and surmises about potential impacts; it makes no effort to reconcile its conjecture with the distance, change in elevation, unsaturated soil and two observable fault barriers.
Equally concerning as the flawed opponent’s study is the bias shown by The Desert Sun’s coverage of it. The paper declined to visit Bonanza Spring on two separate occasions to view the two faults mapped by Dr. Kenney, so the reporter did not see firsthand the flaws in the opponents’ study. The paper also failed to report on the Kenney study when it was made available to them in January of this year. Yet, the reporter did visit the Bonanza Spring with the opponents’ study authors and funders after the Kenney/Foreman study was published and did not invite Kenney or Foreman to attend.
When The Desert Sun published its story about the “two studies,” it did so in a manner that led with a biased headline that suggests a new concern about the Project, when a fair review of the report indicates nothing of the kind. We believe this story and the newspaper’s actions evidence a recent pattern of favoring a specific interest group – whose arguments have been dismissed by public agencies and California’s courts – in its coverage of the Cadiz Water Project and that its actions may be intentional to damage our reputation.
In the end, facts, peer-reviewed science, and obvious and measurable physical occurrences constitute substantial evidence that guides decisions and public policy. This uncontroverted evidence, and the public agency and judicial review that have followed, unequivocally demonstrate that the Cadiz Water Project will not harm Bonanza Spring.
Project operations will be regulated by an extensive groundwater monitoring plan enforced by San Bernardino County and will include the kind of groundwater monitoring the opponent’s study recommends. The Desert Sun buried the existence of this monitoring plan in the article’s 65th paragraph.
Finally, the Cadiz Water Project will stop the annual loss of more than 10 billion gallons per year to evaporation, conserve this water for 400,000 people annually, and create critical groundwater storage capacity, while supporting continued economic prosperity for Southern California. It will do so in a safe and sustainable manner in accordance with the law. To learn more, visit www.cadizwaterproject.com
To review the Kenney/Foreman study, commentary from peer-reviewers and experts, or to watch a VIDEO about the groundbreaking geologic discoveries made and reported on by Dr. Kenney and Mr. Foreman, visit http://www.cadizwaterproject.com/2018-bonanza-spring-study/
To read a rebuttal of the opponents’ study by Dr. Dennis Williams, a participant in the 12-person site visit to Bonanza Spring in January and peer reviewer of the Kenney/Forman study, click here.
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About News Worth Noting: News Worth Noting is a collection of press releases, media statements, and other materials produced by federal, state, and local government agencies, water agencies, and academic institutions, as well as non-profit and advocacy organizations. News Worth Noting also includes relevant legislator statements and environmental policy and legal analyses that are publicly released by law firms. If your agency or organization has an item you would like included here, please email it to Maven.