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IN BRIEF / SANTA CLARITA

PUC Nixes Hearings on Newhall Land Utility

October 10, 2003|From Times Staff Reports

The state Public Utilities Commission has decided not to hold public hearings into an out-of-state consortium's plans to take over a Santa Clarita water company as part of its proposed buyout of the Newhall Land & Farming Co.

The Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club, which asked for the hearings, is concerned about outside interests controlling the local water supply.

Opponents may file briefs by Oct. 22, according to a PUC ruling.

Florida-based Lennar Corp. and a partner corporation plan to purchase Newhall Land for $990 million.

Included in the sale is the Valencia Water Co., a Newhall Land subsidiary that serves more than 25,000 customers in the Santa Clarita Valley.

Valencia Water has been accused by at least one Sierra Club activist of overstating water supplies and underreporting water pollution in an effort to boost Newhall Land's development at the expense of ratepayers.

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