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Mojave Pistachios, ‘Public has the right to know’

Stutzman Public Affairs Kelly Garman Vice President –  Earlier this month, Mojave Pistachios issued a press release on the Fourth Appellate District Court of Appeal’s order compelling the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority (Authority) to demonstrate why the Court should not permit our challenge to the Authority’s pumping allocations to proceed.

The response from Authority General Counsel Keith Lemieux?

“They’re so desperate for any kind of news; basically, they just issued a press release saying the court did not throw out their appeal,” Mr. Lemieux said to a reporter for The Daily Independent.

Contrary to the Authority’s spin, a writ is not an appeal. Writs constitute extraordinary relief granted in less than 10% of cases. The Court of Appeal only issues an order to show cause, as it did in this case, where the issues are important, and it believes the request may have merit. The order by the Appeals Court also included a stay to stop further trial court proceedings until the Court of Appeal has a chance to look into things. This is meaningful because it validates what we have been saying for the last few years, and our local communities have a right to know.

The Authority is using California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) to choose winners and losers unconstitutionally.

Mojave Pistachios has the strong support of the California Farm Bureau, Western Growers Association, and Searles Valley Minerals because this legal fight with the Authority is bigger than our business. It has statewide implications. And folks up and down the state are paying attention.

The Authority wants agriculture to stay quiet and accept their abuse of SGMA, but we will not do so. Mojave Pistachios has paid over $1 million to the Authority, only for the Authority to deny us any water allocation whatsoever. This is a true case of taxation without representation, and the public has a right to know.