LOS ANGELES – The US Bureau of Land Management moved, December 7th, to withdraw approval for a pipeline right-of-way granted to real estate developer Cadiz Inc. without the required environmental review. According to the Center for Biological Diversity, the right-of-way would have facilitated Cadiz’s groundwater-mining plan to drain ancient aquifers under the Mojave Desert, between Cadiz and Barstow, to feed sprawling new developments in Southern California.
“Cadiz’s massive water-privatization scheme would dry up the desert springs and seeps that some of California’s rarest plant and animals need to survive,” said Center for Biological Diversity Scientist Ileene Anderson. “We’ll do everything possible to protect this beautiful, delicate ecosystem.”
Cadiz’s project would pump water from an aquifer under the Mojave Trails National Monument and near the Mojave National Preserve. Hydrologists from the U.S. Geological Survey have found the pipeline’s water use unsustainable. They also found that Cadiz’s privately funded study overstates the aquifer’s recharge rate.
The motion, filed in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, seeks to vacate the Bureau’s approval.
The BLM stated that “[d]ue to the lack of analysis, the agency does not know the source of the water that will be transported through the pipeline and therefore could not have analyzed the potential impacts on the environment or historic properties of drawing down the water at its source.” As such, the land management authority said vacating the decision was the appropriate action.