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June 29, 2016  |  Written by Lauren D. Bernadett

Superior Court Confirms the Delta Plan Must Be Set Aside and Revised

On June 24, 2016, a Sacramento County Superior Court judge confirmed that the Delta Plan “is invalid and must be set aside until proper revisions are completed.”  The Delta Plan is the long-term management plan for the Delta required by the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Reform Act of 2009 (Delta Reform Act).  The ruling was issued in response to several motions for clarification that followed the court’s May 18, 2016 ruling on the matter.  The May 18 ruling finds that the Delta Plan fails to include measurable targets as required by the Delta Reform Act and requires the Delta Stewardship Council (Council) to revise the Delta Plan and applicable regulations accordingly.

The Council requested clarification on whether it was required to adopt regulations to revise the Delta Plan.  The court clarified that the Council must adopt legally enforceable regulations to comply with the Delta Reform Act’s requirements for measurable targets for reducing Delta reliance, reducing environmental harm from invasive species, restoring more natural flows, and increasing water supply reliability.

The court clarified that, because the Delta Plan is invalid, it would not review CEQA challenges to the Delta Plan.  “[T]here is nothing currently before the Court to review under CEQA.”  CEQA challenges can be filed when the Council completes the revised Delta Plan.

The Council’s Executive Officer stated that the Council will likely appeal the court’s decision.

The court’s May 18, 2016 ruling can be found here.

The court’s June 24, 2016 ruling on the motions for clarification can be found here.

The Council’s Executive Officer’s statement can be found here.

For more information on this ruling, please contact Lauren Bernadett at lbernadett@somachlaw.com.

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