By Joe Nelson, The Sun
and Leslie Parrilla, San Bernardino Sun
Posted: 05/02/14, 7:32 PM PDT

Orange County Superior Court Judge Gail Andler’s ruling Thursday dismissed each of six complaints filed against the Cadiz Valley Water Conservation, Recovery and Storage Project, according to a news release and attached court order.

The project would divert surplus groundwater from the Fenner Valley, about 40 miles northeast of Twentynine Palms and south of the Mojave National Preserve, to the Colorado River Aqueduct. The groundwater would then be sold to other water agencies for municipal and industrial use. The plan proposes pumping 50,000 to 75,000 acre-feet of groundwater a year from the aquifer during the project’s 50-year projected lifespan.

Delaware Tetra Technologies and the Center for Biological Diversity filed the petitions challenging the project’s environmental approvals and groundwater management plan.

The San Bernardino Valley Audubon Society, the San Gorgonio Sierra Club and the National Parks Conservation Association joined the Center for Biological Diversity in the litigation.

Among their arguments was that the Santa Margarita Water District in Rancho Santa Margarita was not the proper lead agency for the project, and that the project’s environmental impact report did not include a proper description of the project. They also argued there was an inadequate analysis of the potential impacts to the water supply, air quality, and biological resources.

Andler heard the cases consecutively before issuing her final ruling.

Cadiz officials released a statement Friday that they were pleased with the trial court’s ruling after three months of hearings.

But environmentalists called the court’s decision disheartening.

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