Previous Article
Next Article

Your authoritative, multi-channel network for natural resources and environmental information since 1989 – by practioners for practitioners.

Line Spacing+- AFont Size+- Print This Article Back To Homepage

Sacramento Superior Court Issues Ruling In the Delta Stewardship Council Cases

Delta Stewardship Council Cases, Judicial Council Coordination Proceeding No. 4758 (Sac. Sup. Ct. May 18, 2016).

Judge Michael Kenny has issued a ruling (Ruling) on the statutory challenges raised in the coordinated Delta Stewardship Council Cases. The Delta Stewardship Council Cases involve seven separate lawsuits challenging the Delta Stewardship Council’s (Council) Delta Plan and the Council’s corresponding regulations and Programmatic Environmental Impact Report (EIR). The Ruling decides the claims regarding the Delta Plan and the Council’s regulations (statutory challenges). As to the claims regarding the EIR, the Ruling states that the court finds those claims to be moot. The Ruling denies the majority of the statutory challenges, but finds that the Council did not act consistent with several provisions of the Council’s enabling statute—the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Reform Act of 2009 (Delta Reform Act). Several parties have filed motions for clarification regarding the Ruling and the court may issue an amended ruling after hearing those motions.

Seven separate lawsuits were filed challenging the Delta Plan, the Council’s regulations and the EIR and those lawsuits were coordinated as the Delta Stewardship Council Cases. The petitioner groups in the seven lawsuits are: 1) San Luis & Delta Mendota Water Authority; 2) State Water Contractors, et al.; 3) North Coast Rivers Alliance, et al.; 4) California Water Impact Network, et al.; 5) Central Delta Water Agency, et al.; 6) Save the California Delta Alliance; and 7) City of Stockton.

The court’s Ruling in the coordinated Delta Stewardship Council Cases finds that the Delta Plan fails to comply with the Delta Reform Act in several respects. Depending on what the court ultimately issues as writs to the Council, the Delta Stewardship Council Cases could result in revisions to the Delta Plan, the Council’s regulations, and additional environmental review. Given the number of parties and the water issues involved in these cases, however, appeal to a higher court could be forthcoming.
(Daniel O’Hanlon)