Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement after the Interior Department’s acting solicitor general issued a legal memorandum that could pave the way for the Cadiz water extraction project in the Mojave Desert:
“For more than 20 years, Cadiz has tried to build a water extraction project that would destroy the Mojave Desert. This week, the Interior Department signaled its approval for this dangerous project by reinterpreting the law so a private corporation can profit at the expense of public interest.
“Cadiz for years has sought to exploit a 1875 railroad law to use an existing right-of-way to escape any federal environmental review for its proposed pipeline. In 2011, those efforts were blocked when the Obama administration issued guidelines for railroad rights-of-way. Those guidelines were in response to two federal court rulings requiring environmental reviews for projects that don’t serve a ‘railroad purpose.’
“Candidly, California must do more to protect our public lands. It’s clear to me that this administration is taking every action it can to allow this misbegotten project to go ahead. Everybody needs to weigh in.
“On the same day this memorandum was issued, the state Senate blocked AB 1000, a bill to prevent Cadiz from destroying the desert. This latest assault on our public lands shows why AB 1000 is essential and must be passed immediately.
“I’ll keep fighting to protect the Mojave Desert from the perilous Cadiz plan. I hope the California legislature will join me in that fight.”