On 6 May 2011, CSPA and C-WIN appealed the Program Environmental Impact Report (PEIR) for the Irrigated Lands Program in the Central Valley to the State Water Resources Control Board (State Board). The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board (Regional Board) certified the PEIR at its 7 April 2011 hearing on the matter. Interestingly, the Regional Board failed to direct its staff to issue a Notice of Determination for the PEIR, which would have started the 30-day litigation clock. CSPA appealed the PEIR in an abundance of caution to preserve its administrative challenge rights.
In addition to the PEIR, the Regional Board also considered, but failed to adopt, the framework for the ILRP at the hearing. Consideration of extending the existing ILRP Waiver for another two years was moved to the June board meeting. The present waiver expires on 1 July.
More than 120 fishing, environmental and environmental justice organizations joined CSPA in opposing the PEIR, Framework and extension of the existing waiver. The coalition, representing millions of Californians, urged the Regional Board to stop ceding its regulatory authority to industry advocacy coalitions and require that irrigated farms comply with regulatory requirements applicable to virtually every other segment of society, including municipalities, industry and mom-and-pop businesses.
Irrigated agriculture is the largest source of pollution to Central Valley waterways and the Delta. Pollution is identified as one of the principle causes of the collapse of Delta fisheries. Agricultural pollution also threatens drinking water supplies and public health and is a major source of groundwater impairment. Petition for Review