Monday, April 5, 2010
Opponents of the regional water project agreement are fighting back.
Today, April 5, the Ag Land Trust - represented by Monterey attorneys Michael Stamp and Molly Erickson - filed a lawsuit against Marina Coast Water District and "Does 1 to 100," alleging the recent settlement deal for a desalination plant north of Marina violates the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and other laws.
If the regional water project is approved, the California Public Utilities Commission won't be able to fall back on the other two water supply alternatives in its environmental impact report, the lawsuit alleges.
"[Marina Coast], acting alone and in its own interests, would make the decision to proceed with the desalination plant and related facilities," the April 5 complaint states. "Without the desalination plant, the entire Regional Project would fail."
The complaint alleges Marina Coast's agreement would violate state and county water laws by implementing the desal project, because it doesn't own water rights to the Salinas Basin.
"The Salinas Valley Groundwater Basin is in overdraft. There are not available groundwater rights to be appropriated in an overdrafted basin," it states. "…the Project would not recharge the basin in the amount extracted."
The complaint asks the Monterey County Superior Court to halt the settlement agreement, void Marina Coast's approval of the Regional Desalination Project, and prepare a "legally adequate" environmental impact report to comply with CEQA.
Ag Land Trust also asks for attorneys' fees and "other relief that the Court considers just and proper."