Sacramento County Starts Avalanche of Lawsuits Against Delta Tunnels Plan

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CN) – Seeking to freeze a contentious $16 billion waterworks plan supported by Gov. Jerry Brown, Sacramento County sued the California Department of Water Resources on Thursday over its certification of the project’s “dizzying” and “shifting” environmental review.

In a 69-page lawsuit filed in Sacramento County Superior Court, the county says the plan known as the “California WaterFix” will harm residents and the environment in myriad ways. According to the petition, a judge should throw out the environmental certification and halt one of the largest public works projects in state history.

“Department of Water Resources chose to bury the public in paper, producing a series of disjointed and confusing documents based on a vague and shifting project description, incomplete and inaccurate data and flawed analytical methods,” the petition states.

The county alleges that the plan, which would divert freshwater around the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta in a pair of 35-mile tunnels, will harm endangered fish species, delta farmers and disproportionately impact low-income communities.

In June, federal fisheries officials signed off on the project, finding it could be completed without devastating impacts to native salmon and other endangered fish species.

The county is represented by Kelley Taber of Somach Simmons & Dunn of Sacramento.

Another delta city, Antioch, and a host of environmental and fishing groups filed similar lawsuits Thursday to halt the delta tunnels, claiming violations of the California Environmental Quality Act.


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