California Attorney General Xavier Becerra helped secure an order to prevent Westlands Water District from raising Shasta Dam for fear of having a negative environmental effect. Here’s Becerra’s statement on the news:
SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today issued the following statement after a Superior Court granted a preliminary injunction halting Westlands Water District’s participation in an unlawful project to raise the Shasta Dam:
“The court has stopped Westlands Water District from moving forward with a project that would hurt the people and environment in our state,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Maybe others believe they’re above the law and can get away with it. But, in California, we’re prepared to prove otherwise.”
Attorney General Becerra filed the lawsuit on May 13, 2019 to block Westlands from taking an unlawful action to assist in the planning and construction of a project to raise the height of the Shasta Dam. The project poses significant adverse effects on the free-flowing condition of the McCloud River and on its wild trout fishery, both of which have special statutory protections under the California Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. The Act prohibits any agency of the State of California, such as Westlands, from assisting or cooperating with actions to raise the Shasta Dam.
The Westlands Water District, which provides irrigation water to farmers on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, was working on a report assessing the environmental impacts of raising the height of the dam.
But a judge ruled that Westlands’ work violated a state law that prohibited local and state agencies from participating in any projects that would have an adverse impact on the McCloud River.
The state Attorney General’s Office and several environmental groups had filed a lawsuit against Westlands arguing that raising the height of the dam also would raise the level of Lake Shasta and further inundate the McCloud River.