Letters to the Editor

Cadiz Inc. would harm the Mohave. Here’s how

An area of the Mojave Desert near the site of the Cadiz Water project on the eastern edge of San Bernardino County in California on July 20, 2015. Obama on Feb. 12, 2016, designated three new national monuments in the California desert, a 1.8-million-acre landscape of mountain ranges, lava flows and sand dunes that nearly doubles the amount of public land he has protected as president.
An area of the Mojave Desert near the site of the Cadiz Water project on the eastern edge of San Bernardino County in California on July 20, 2015. Obama on Feb. 12, 2016, designated three new national monuments in the California desert, a 1.8-million-acre landscape of mountain ranges, lava flows and sand dunes that nearly doubles the amount of public land he has protected as president. The New York Times file

Feinstein responds

Re “Sen. Feinstein should study the facts before rejecting Cadiz’s desert water project” (Another View, June 6): Cadiz Inc., owes the public an open and honest discussion about their water extraction project. Unfortunately, Winston Hickox’s op-ed clearly suggests we won’t ever get one. Instead, Cadiz will continue to prioritize its investor’s financial interests over California’s irreplaceable public lands.

To defend the project, Hickox points to the National Park Service’s general webpage about the region to sweepingly assert that Cadiz won’t harm any desert springs. However, he ignores the fact that NPS was specifically critical of this unsupported assertion in its 2012 letter.

Hickox also misrepresents the U.S. Geological Survey’s findings on the natural recharge rate of the aquifer that Cadiz proposes to drain. Any changes to Cadiz’s proposal won’t change the fact that the natural recharge rate is between 2,000 and 10,000 acre-feet per year, nowhere near Cadiz’s claim of 32,000 acre-feet. That’s why in a letter last month the USGS stood by its original estimate stating, “We are not aware of new information that would change our recharge estimate.”

Hickox is a member of Cadiz’s board and owns $1 million of Cadiz’s stock. His letter continues the pattern of those who stand to gain financially defending the disastrous Cadiz water extraction project.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California

Our Mohave Desert

Winston Hickox’s op-ed contains misrepresentations and untrue statements about the Cadiz project. I thank Sen. Dianne Feinstein for her leadership in opposing President Donald Trump’s administration’s effort to drain groundwater from our desert, parks and wildlife. Trump’s team has made the Cadiz Water Project a priority, putting it on its infrastructure priority list and waiving federal environmental review that the Obama administration required. Why? Money.

Apparently, Cadiz board member Hickox doesn’t support independent review of a project that would pump 16 billion gallons of water a year for 50 years from a desert aquifer. This is not surprising given federal scientists previously studied an earlier version of Cadiz, finding it would create damaging overdraft conditions. The USGS are the pre-eminent experts in this area, not a group of individuals standing to make significant money.

I served as Mojave National Preserve’s superintendent for 11 years, and know the antics and misrepresents by Cadiz intimately. I applaud Feinstein for protecting these fragile resources and am heartened there are leaders like her ensuring the interests of California’s citizens, not a select few looking to financially benefit. This project is a direct affront to California’s efforts to sustainably manage its groundwater, and keep its public lands safe from Mr. Trump’s hands.

Mary G. Martin, Mojave National Preserve superintendent, 1994-2005, Palo Cedro

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