Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Trial Court Decertifies EIR For Marin County Desalination Project

A Marin County Superior Court judge has ruled that further environmental review is required before a new desalination plant may be constructed to improve water supply availability in San Rafael, Mill Valley and other communities within the Marin Municipal Water District service area.

The August 16, 2011, ruling in North Coast Rivers Alliance et al. vs. Marin Municipal Water District Board of Directors (Case No. CV094809) grants a petition for a writ of mandate setting aside the water district's certification of aEnvironmental Impact Report (EIR) for a proposed desalination plant that would transform water from San Rafael Bay into drinking water to alleviate chronic water reliability issues during drought periods. 

The lengthy court ruling resolves a wide range of claimed deficiencies in the water district's EIR, rejecting some claims and embracing others.  The ruling finds that the district violated the California Environmental Quality Act because its EIR inadequately addressed environmental impacts with respect to: entrainment of aquatic life at the plant intake; visual impacts from a new water storage tank; consistency with local land use planning designations; seismic effects; noise impacts from construction; energy impacts; and greenhouse gas impacts.  The ruling found the EIR to be adequate with respect to many claims, including: effects from discharging brine through an existing municipal wastewater outfall; air quality; drinking water quality; and growth inducement.

A complete copy of the trial court's ruling may be found here.

If you have any questions regarding this decision, please contact Hanspeter Walter or the KMTG attorney with whom you normally consult.

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