On 27 August 2014, CSPA and Protecting Our Water and Environmental Resources (POWER) reached a settlement with nine defendants in one of two Stanislaus County lawsuits filed over drilling permits for wells without California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review. The suit will continue against parties who have not settled. The second lawsuit against Stanislaus County also continues. It seeks a court declaration that all future well permits must undergo CEQA review to determine potential impacts to surface and ground waters. The county has issued more than 600 new well drilling permits, mostly for irrigation, over the last 1.5 years.
The settlement covers costs of bring suit and provides for a fund administrated by CSPA to study groundwater conditions in Stanislaus County. Settlement funds for this purpose total approximately $190,000 to date and will be used to research the impacts of agricultural pumping is having on Stanislaus County’s aquifers and rivers. The Law Offices of Thomas Lippe represented CSPA and POWER in this matter.