In a resounding step towards defending desert water resources, the California Senate yesterday passed SB307, a commonsense solution to protect Mojave Trails National Monument springs, groundwater and wildlife. The legislation now advances for a full Assembly vote.
Authored by Senator Richard Roth, SB 307 responds to the immediate need for groundwater safeguards in California’s Mojave Desert, which sustains legally-protected wildlife and millions of acres of national parks and public lands. The Trump administration has threatened such resources through the removal of long-standing regulations applying to the Cadiz Inc. groundwater mining proposal, considered the greatest, most urgent threat to any of California’s national parks and monuments.
Statement by David Lamfrom, California Desert and Wildlife Director, National Parks Conservation Association
“The National Parks Conservation Association commends Senator Roth and California Senate leaders for taking a crucial step today in defense of science and one of our state’s most beautiful and imperiled places, Mojave Trails National Monument.
“SB 307 requires environmental review similar to that which the Trump administration chose to waive for the Cadiz Inc. water mining proposal, which would drain 16 billion gallons of water from the Mojave each year. It’s game over if we lose the ancient Bonanza Spring and other water sources in the region, sacred to desert tribes, crucial to migrating wildlife across the desert and connected to national parks including Joshua Tree and Mojave. The Assembly is now in position to approve and send SB 307 to Governor Newsom, to ensure that the state and the public have an independent voice to study threats posed by the Cadiz project and safeguard our desert water, for the benefit of generations to come.”
Statement by Kim Delfino, California Program Director, Defenders of Wildlife
“Today’s vote in the California Senate shows that our state will continue to stand up against the Trump Administration’s efforts to rollback environmental protections. Defenders of Wildlife thanks Senator Richard Roth for his strong leadership in protecting California’s Mojave Desert and its wildlife. Together with Senators Henry Stern, Nancy Skinner, Anthony Portantino, and Scott Wiener, all of whom spoke in strong support for SB 307 on the Senate floor, the Senate voted to protect California’s fragile desert wildlife and lands from the destructive Cadiz groundwater mining project.
"When Governor Newsom issued his executive order to develop a comprehensive strategy to build a climate-resilient water system, an important part of that strategy will be to protect our state’s aquifers from further overdraft for the benefit of people and wildlife. SB 307’s common sense and science driven review to ensure that desert groundwater pumping is sustainable is a prime example of how California can maintain a resilient water system. We look forward to this bill moving out of the Legislature and to Governor Newsom for signature. California’s desert, water, and wildlife deserve nothing less.”