California Environmental Insights Oct. 2017, Project Updates – Court Upholds Monterey Plus Revised EIR

August 25, 2017

Two previous EIRs (Monterey Agreement and Monterey Plus) were prepared by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) to evaluate aspects of State Water Project long-term water supply contracts including transferring ownership of approximately 20,000 acres of land from DWR to the Kern County Water Agency. After several court rulings, DWR was required to re-evaluate the property transfer and conduct further evaluations of Kern Water Bank development, use, and operation in a Revised EIR. As a major subcontractor, GEI VP and Sr. Project Manager Phil Dunn led completion of the three-volume Monterey Plus Revised EIR. Phil worked closely with the Attorney General’s Office and DWR’s South Central Region Office, State Water Project Analysis Office, and Office of the Chief Council staff to meet the court-ordered requirements.

Petitioners alleged to the court that this new Revised EIR failed to properly identify and address significant environmental impacts (especially on water supply, water reliability, Delta exports, and crop conversion), cumulative impacts, mitigation measures, and comments on the Draft EIR. On October 2, 2017, in Center for Food Safety, et al. v. DWR, Judge Timothy Frawley ruled that the Revised EIR provided substantial evidence to support its conclusions in all cases. The Court also found that “the Revised EIR provides a ‘good faith, reasoned analysis’ in response to the comments submitted.” Finally, the court denied the petition and ruled in DWR’s favor.

GEI Contact: Phil Dunn,