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Letters: Desert water -- public or private?

May 20, 2012
  • Scott Slater, president and general counsel of Cadiz Inc., watches as water pours into a spreading basin. The basin holds water from a pilot well used for testing. Cadiz Inc. hopes to build a pipeline to export groundwater from the Mojave Desert.
Scott Slater, president and general counsel of Cadiz Inc., watches as water… (Los Angeles Times )

Re "Firm wants to tap liquid gold in the Mojave Desert," May 16

The Cadiz Inc.project will drain an aquifer in the eastern Mojave Desert and pipe it to the lawns of Orange County, reaping billions for the company.

Conspicuously absent from the debate is the government of San Bernardino County, which was required to produce an environmental review but punted it to a water district nearly 200 miles away. Now it has moved to exempt the Cadiz project from the local groundwater law, signing away its enforcement authority for the laughably weak provisions of the exemption agreement, which, among other things, waits an entire decade before even calculating harm to the aquifer.

Our groundwater is a public resource, being squandered here to make a few people rich and destroying the environment in the process. The government has a responsibility to stop this dirty water grab.

Ileene Anderson

Los Angeles

The writer is the desert lands program director at the Center for Biological Diversity.

Were one to sell topsoil or sand from public lands to benefit a private seller, what would one think? Absurd? Not at all, in the context of the water thieves who have researched the regulations and concluded that their theft of public property is legitimate.

We must certainly take whatever action is necessary to stop this appropriation of that which belongs to the public.

Richard P. McDonough

Irvine

The Times has recently reported that USC will get control of the publicly owned Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, and Cadiz Inc. is trying to gain control over publicly owned water in the Mojave Desert.

What's next, giving up control over Yosemite National Park to Anschutz Entertainment Group?

Bob Lentz

Sylmar

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