California Water News

By California Water News Daily
January 15, 2016

Before leaving Washington for Christmas break, nine Members of Congress sent a letter to Neil Kornze, the Director of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), encouraging him to reconsider the agency’s recent guidance regarding the Cadiz Water Project.

On October 2nd, 2015, the California Office of the BLM made an unprecedented decision: requiring additional environmental review of third party railroad right-of-way uses previously authorized by the host railroad. Under this new guidance, the Cadiz Water Project would require federal approval in order to transport water through a 43-mile long underground pipeline along the Arizona & California Railroad from Cadiz’s land, east of Pam Springs, to the Colorado River Aqueduct.

In 2011, the US Department of the Interior’s Solicitor General concluded that railroads that fall under the General Railroad Right-of-Way Act of 1875 “have the right to authorize third parties to undertake a range of activities within their rights-of-way, including commercial activities, so long as the activity is derived from or furthers a railroad purpose, at least in part.”

As described in the letter submitted by the nine Members, the Cadiz Water Project would further railroad purposes by:

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