Archaeologists Seeking Congressional Water Probe

(October 26)  Having abandoned its federal lawsuit against Cadiz, Inc.’s East Mojave Desert water mining project in favor of seeking administrative relief,   the River Branch of the Archaeological Heritage Association (RiverAHA)  is now seeking a Congressional inquiry and a Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation of the project.
Cadiz, Inc. obtained approval for the plan to extract 50,000-acre feet of water from the desert to sell to users in Los Angeles and Orange counties by having the Orange County-based Santa Margarita Water District, which lies 217 miles from the Cadiz Valley, to serve as the lead agency for the project approval and its environmental certification.  RiverAHA sued Cadiz, Inc. and the U.S. Department of the Interior, its secretary Kenneth Salazar, and the Bureau of Land Management, and the county of San Bernardino over that approval but has since voluntarily dismissed the suit for what RiverAHA founder Ruth Musser-Lopez called strategic reasons. She said there were insufficiencies in the law, such that “Individuals do not have the right to seek judicial action without first going through a lengthy administrative process.”  She and RiverAHA are now seeking a Congressional inquiry into the failure of officials to conduct what she said would be a mandatory federal review of the project’s impacts under the National Historic Preservation Act and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act.  Asserting that Cadiz, Inc. has mischaracterized the availability of water to investors and potential investors with misleading visual displays of snow packs in the east Mojave, that the company downplayed the expense of treating the water, and further wrongfully told investors that the court dismissed her federal claims, she is seeking an SEC investigation.  RiverAHA claims that federal review is necessary for numerous properties eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places that would be directly impacted by the construction of the Cadiz pipeline on a federal right-of-way issued for railroad purposes.
RiverAHA is requesting the assistance of San Bernardino County Supervisor Neil Derry in obtaining the Congressional inquiry and SEC investigation.   Derry was the sole dissenting vote earlier this month when the county board of supervisors voted to accede to the Santa Margarita Water District’s approval of the project.

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