BEC wins in water suit

Local conservation organization successful against the state

The Chico-based Butte Environmental Council got a big win in court this week.

On Monday (March 15), a Superior Court in Alameda County ruled that the state must do environmental reviews when it proposes water transfers under the state’s Drought Water Bank program, according to a press release from BEC.

BEC was supported in its fight against the California Department of Water Resources and the DWB program by the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance and the California Water Impact Network.

The lawsuit stems from an emergency drought proclamation issued about one year ago by Gov. Schwarzenegger, who was seeking to usher through water transfers without following the California Environmental Quality Act, California’s principle environmental law. At the time, the governor filed a CEQA exemption. BEC’s attorneys claimed that the emergency status was caused by mismanagement of water resources rather than natural conditions.