W.A.T.E.R. and WWT file reply briefs in Appellate Court
Crystal Geyser, Siskiyou County and Mt. Shasta City continue to defend EIR on abandoned plant project in Mount Shasta.
W.A.T.E.R. and the Winnemem Wintu Tribe (WWT) have filed reply briefs to the briefs filed by Siskiyou County, Mt. Shasta City and Crystal Geyser (respondents) in our ongoing struggle to overturn the flawed Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on the Crystal Geyser (CG) plant project in Mount Shasta. Even though CG has announced its decision to abandon the plant project and put the property up for sale, CG continues to defend the EIR in court. We believe it is essential to continue this case to prevent the flawed EIR from potentially being transferred to another owner. On April 16, 2021, opening briefs were filed summarizing our strong objection to the County and City approval of the CG EIR. Shortly after that filing we learned that CG was abandoning its planned project (See our May Newsletter for more info). However, on June 21 the respondents did respond to our briefs and thus on July 12 W.A.T.E.R. and WWT's attorney, Marsha Burch, filed our reply briefs. We are now awaiting the hearing but are unsure on what date our appeal will be heard at the California Appellate Court in Sacramento since there is a substantial Court backlog. Stay tuned!
In our Reply Brief attorney Burch argued against the points raised by CG in its Respondent's Brief. Some quotes from the brief:
"The reason the County was unable to prepare an adequate EIR for the Project is because the County refuses to regulate groundwater extractions by water bottlers, and [the] false statement that the County has no legal authority over groundwater compounds the errors of the EIR and further confuses the public and the decision makers. Either the County has not recognized that it has authority over groundwater, or it is truly ignorant of applicable law… In either case, many of the flaws in the EIR flow directly from this error."
"The County failed to fully disclose the fact that groundwater extraction is unlimited and hid that fact by inserting extraction and production figures that were implied limits, thereby confusing the public and failing to proceed according to law."
"Respondents do not explain why the County’s air quality experts tweaked the standard fleet mix in the analysis for the DEIR, causing certain “criteria pollutant” emissions to be reported in the DEIR at about half of what the FEIR finally revealed… The record is rife with evidence that the air quality impacts analysis was so utterly flawed that it cannot be relied upon…”
Links to all the Appeal documents can be found on our website www.cawater.net