The Quantification Settlement Agreement won’t be heard at the state Supreme Court level, according to a ruling made by the highest court in the state.
The California Supreme Court denied all petitions to hear the water transfer case Wednesday afternoon, dropping the case back to the state Superior Court for further deliberation. Multiple parties, including Imperial County, Cuatro del Mar and POWER, had requested the state Supreme Court hear the case after the state Appellate Court ruled on the QSA validation issues.
The Superior Court ruled in 2010 that the set of agreements to transfer Imperial Irrigation District entitlement water to San Diego was invalid because it required the state to sign a “blank check” to pay mitigation costs for the Salton Sea. The Appellate Court had overturned that decision in December, saying the QSA didn’t require that blank check and it is up to the state Legislature still to appropriate funds.
The Supreme Court doesn’t have to hear certain case, said Mark Hattam, partner with Allen Matkins who represents the Imperial Irrigation District. It’s up to their own discretion on what they decide to take on.
As it stands the Appellate Court ruling is now final, and the case is being sent back to the Superior Court for further proceedings, he said. The lion share of what’s left to be covered is environmental issues, though there are a couple validation issues as well.
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What’s left to be decided has been the meat of the matter for the county since the beginning, said Imperial County Counsel Michael Rood. The county has had issues on the environmental process and the need for a thorough environmental review since 2003.
“Public health is very important to all of us and that is at the heart of a thorough environmental review,” he said.
Much of the environmental issues revolve around the Salton Sea, the levels of which have been dropping for more than a decade.