Environmental groups push water district to douse water bag idea
Friday, February 14, 2003
A group of nine environmental and public interest groups are calling for the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District to dump an Alaska entrepreneur’s bid to ship Mad River water south.
The Environmental Protection Information Center, the Northcoast Environmental Center, the Sierra Club and others said Thursday that they would vigorously fight the proposal.
“We do not believe this radical water bagging proposal can pass legal muster under the applicable state and federal environmental laws,” said the coalition’s attorney, Simeon Herskovits of the Western Environmental Law Center.
The groups claim that the export of water proposed by Alaska-based Aqueous Corp. is outside the bounds of the district’s authority and would be expensive — or impossible — under laws like the California Coastal Act and the National Environmental Policy Act. The potential loss of local control of the water to a company with essentially no assets, controlled by corporations in other countries, should not be risked, the groups wrote in a letter to the district.
Tugging bags on the Pacific Ocean would not only be unlikely to work, the groups contend, but could damage marine habitat and threaten recreational boating and other uses. Giving up the water through a long-term contract could also stymie future local development that might need the water, they wrote.
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