Did Farmers Finally Win One?
"I don't think, from the board's perspective, there is a practical impact" from the judge's ruling, he said.
Jul 13, 2015
A Sacramento judge sided with water agencies Friday in their battle with the State Water Resources Control Board, saying the board can't enforce strict water restrictions because it violates the constitutional rights of water rights holders.
Is this a win for farmers who need the water? "It's a complete victory" said Stockton attorney Steve Herum who represents several districts that received notices. And it's also a win for everyone who believes in the rule of law. We never know if judges will rule based on the law as written or based on their political disposition at the time. This judge looked at the law and ruled on what it says. That's a win for everyone. It's good that unelected bureaucrats can't take your rights without at least a hearing.
But before you go out celebrating, take a look at the water board's response. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, board attorney David Rose said "the curtailment letters may be problematic and need revision." In other words, just need a re-write.
In the board's official response they say "any such enforcement action would occur only after notice and an opportunity for hearing pursuant to the Water code. This has been the consistent position of the State Water Board staff, and was specifically identified in the curtailment notices sent in May and June." As a result, the board doesn't feel hobbled by the judge's ruling, Rose said. "I don't think, from the board's perspective, there is a practical impact" from the judge's ruling, he said.
The water board acts as if the judge ruled in their favor.
Court ruling is a potential blow to state water-saving efforts
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