QSA-related federal lawsuit case denied
Posted by George J Janczyn on April 10, 2012
Back in 2009 when I started following the Quantification Settlement Agreement (QSA) lawsuit filed in Superior Court , I discovered a related federal case that had also been filed and started following it through the government’s Pacer service. Today I just found that the case was decided on April 6. I’m including a copy of the order below in Scribd format.
As explained in the court’s background, the QSA was partly the result of California (legally) using more Colorado River water than had originally been allocated to it because Arizona and Nevada were not using their full apportionment. But when Arizona and Nevada began increasing their take, California’s excess usage was theatened and complex legal proceedings resulted in the QSA which actually is 35 separate agreements among varying interests, including an agreement for San Diego to purchase water from Imperial Irrigation District.
The federal case involved a part of the QSA entitled Colorado River Water Delivery Agreement (CRWDA). Plaintiffs sought (1) a declaration that the Secretary violated NEPA and the CAA in executing the CRWDA and (2) an order immediately ceasing water deliveries under the void CRWDA.
Plaintiffs were the Imperial County Air Pollution Control District (the “Air District”) and the County of Imperial. Federal Defendants are the United States Department of the Interior; Ken Salazar, Secretary of the United States Department of the Interior; the United States Bureau of Reclamation; and Michael L.Connor, Commissioner, Bureau of Reclamation. Intervening Defendants are the Metropolitan Water District (“MWD”), San Diego County Water Authority (“SDCWA”), Imperial Irrigation District (“IID”), and Coachella Valley Water District (“CVWD”).
The federal case against the CRWDA portion of the QSA involved many complicated issues, including a drying Salton Sea contributing to air pollution issues, which can be read in the court’s decision below, which finishes:
“For the reasons set forth above, the Court concludes that Plaintiffs’ claims fail for lack of standing, which is sufficient to defeat Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment in its entirety. The Court also finds that Plaintiffs’ NEPA claim fails on the merits. Because these findings are determinative and none of Plaintiffs’ claims survives, the Court declines to consider the additional arguments raised by
Intervening Defendants. The Court therefore DENIES Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment, GRANTS Federal Defendants’ cross motion for summary judgment, and DENIES AS MOOT Intervening Defendants’ cross motion for summary judgment.”