Butte Co. Board of Supervisors files lawsuit against DWR
OROVILLE, Calif. - The Butte County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to file a lawsuit against the California Department of Water Resources for failing to comply with state water law.
The Board of Supervisors said DWR did not adequately assess the environmental and socioeconomic impacts from the California WaterFix. The California WaterFix is a Habitat and Conservation Plan and Natural Community Conservation Plan intended to meet the standards of the federal Endangered Species Act and California's Natural Community Conservation Planning Act.
The WaterFix is intended to protect more than 50 species of fish, wildlife, and plants over 50 years. The WaterFix includes two 45-foot diameter tunnels that create new diversion and conveyance facilities of the State Water Project and Central Valley Project which draw water from the Delta.
The Board took this action to protect Butte County from the damage the WaterFix would have to Butte County's economy, environment, and communities.
The DWR certified the required California Environmental Quality Act environmental analysis of the California WaterFix on July 21, 2017. CEQA requires state and local agencies to identify the significant environmental impacts of their actions and to avoid or mitigate those impacts, if feasible.
The CEQA certification, Notice of Determination, and decision documents put WaterFix a step closer to construction, which could begin as early as 2018.
The Butte County Board of Supervisors submitted objections to the draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS) in a letter dated September 13, 2016. The Board of Supervisors found the EIR/EIS inadequately described the project and failed to fully assess the potential impacts from WaterFix.
Butte County's list of concerns with WaterFix were more then legal technicalities and if ignored, the failures would lead to action that will ultimately damage the region's economy, environment, and communities.
The Butte County Board of Supervisors remains opposed to the WaterFix. Butte County's objections to WaterFix are a response to the state and federal agency's failure to acknowledge and assess the potential impacts. In 2012, the Butte County Board of Supervisors adopted Resolution (12-096) Opposing the WaterFix (previously the BDCP).
Unfortunately, the Administration has ignored every suggestion offered by Butte County and was intent to move forward with the California WaterFix and California EcoRestore with little regard to legal requirements or mitigating impacts.