SENATE BILL 120
Senate Bill 120 (Roth) was introduced on August 25, 2018 through the controversial “gut and amend” process, to serve as a vehicle for widely-opposed AB 1000 – held on Senate suspense in 2017. The measure seeks to create a new, undefined environmental permitting process, outside of CEQA, for water transportation projects, jeopardizing much-needed water and jobs for Southern California and chilling the community sectors that count on both. The bill directly targets the Cadiz Water Project, a public-private partnership that will create and support more than 5,900 jobs, generate over $875 million in economic activity and create a new water supply that can serve up to 400,000 people a year. The Cadiz Project received a lengthy public review in accordance with CEQA, a separate County review and Court- approvals, but the bill seeks an end-run around this record. In doing so, it sets a dangerous precedent for all infrastructure projects in California.
Arguments Against SB 120
SB 120 Puts A Reliable Water Supply At Risk. SB 120 directly targets the Cadiz Water Project, a public- private partnership that would conserve 50,000 acre-feet of water a year that is now evaporating in the Mojave Desert and deliver it across Southern California, where it could serve up to 400,000 people a year.
SB 120 Puts Union and Veteran Jobs At Risk. The project that SB 120 is designed to kill is expected to create and support 5,900 family-supporting jobs, including jobs reserved for veterans and unions. By killing confidence in the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process, SB 120 also jeopardizes thousands more jobs that future projects could create.
SB 120 Undermines CEQA. CEQA is the most robust environmental protection law in the nation. Re-opening decisions made under CEQA at the request of special interests sets a precedent that threatens the strength of California’s environmental protections.
SB 120 Creates Greater Uncertainty for Critical Infrastructure And Development Projects. By changing the rules of the game, SB 120 injects even more uncertainty for any project in California reviewed and approved under CEQA, including water infrastructure, transportation, school construction, hospital and affordable housing projects.
SB 120 Unjustly Moves the Goal Posts. SB 120 creates a new undefined environmental process for water conveyance projects controlled by Sacramento agencies with no experience or standing in water project regulation. Worse, SB 120 supplants the authority of locally elected officials, accountable to the local area where the project is located, who have already approved and established regulatory processes.
SB 120 Unjustly Targets A Single Project Already Deemed Safe for the Environment. The Cadiz Water Project has successfully completed the CEQA process, been heard and upheld by trial and appellate courts during a process that concluded the project is safe for the environment. SB 120 gives another unjust “bite at the apple” to agencies and opponents who already participated in the CEQA, Local and Court processes.
Click here to read text on SB 120.
Click here to view a MAP of the area targeted by SB 120.