Legislation Proposed to Ban California Water Tunnel Lawsuits

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A California congressman wants to ban environmental lawsuits challenging a plan to build two gigantic tunnels to divert water from the north to the thirsty south.

Rep. Ken Calvert, a Riverside County Republican, inserted the ban in a 142-page draft of an Interior Department spending bill for fiscal 2019 that he released Tuesday, the Sacramento Bee reported.

Calvert chairs the House Appropriations subcommittee on the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies.

Page 141 of the draft includes language prohibiting state or federal lawsuits against the final environmental impact report for the so-called California WaterFix project “and any resulting decision, record of decision or similar determination.”

If that provision makes it through Congress, it would gut many existing legal challenges that are based on environmental findings and bar future similar lawsuits.

The WaterFix project, championed by Gov. Jerry Brown, would create two 35-mile (56-kilometer) tunnels to ferry water from the Sacramento River to south-supplying aqueducts.

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