A "rider" to the federal Department of Interior appropriations bill would exempt the environmental documents for the "California WaterFix" from legal challenges at either the federal or the state level. The WaterFix project includes the twin tunnels under the Delta that would move water from the Sacramento River to south of the Delta. The bill would affect approximately 25 cases that have already been filed under the California Environmental Quality Act, California Endangered Species Act, or the federal Endangered Species Act. Other cases that have not yet been filed would also be precluded.
California Waterfowl is generally neutral on the WaterFix project, because while members north of the Delta generally oppose the twin tunnels, members south of the Delta would benefit from improved water supply and reliability. However, we believe that an exemption from legal challenges is bad policy and sets a bad precedent. The environmental documents, including the Final Environmental Impact Report/Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS), list the identified impacts of the project and describe the ways the project will avoid or mitigate these impacts. If this information is faulty, it could affect waterfowl and also California Waterfowl's own properties. It is also a violation of due process and state rights.