-RBB United States of America v. Fallbrook Public Utility District

Filing 5594

ORDER granting 5592 Motion to Extend Stay. Case stayed until 1/13/2018. Signed by Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel on 7/25/2017. (All non-registered users served via U.S. Mail Service)(fth)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff, 12 13 ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO EXTEND STAY RAMONA BAND OF CAHUILLA; CAHUILLA BAND OF INDIANS, 14 15 CASE NO. 51cv1247-GPC(RBB) Intervenors, vs. [Dkt. No. 5592.] Plaintiff- 16 17 FALLBROOK PUBLIC UTILITY DISTRICT, et al., 18 Defendants. 19 20 A Joint Motion to Extend Stay1 was filed by Plaintiffs-Intervenors the Cahuilla 21 Band of Indians and the Ramona Band of Cahuilla, (Dkt. No. 5592), and an opposition 22 was filed by Anza Basin Represented Landowner Group2 (“Anza Landowner Group”), 23 (Dkt. No. 5593). The Anza Landowner Group relies on the arguments in its prior 24 opposition to the motion to extend stay filed on October 17, 2016 arguing at that time 25 26 27 28 1 Plaintiffs-Intervenors state the United States, State of California, County of Riverside, Riverside County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, Greenwald Landowners, Hemet Unified School District and Agri-Empire do not oppose their motion. 2 While Plaintiffs-Intervenors state that Anza Landowner Group does not oppose their joint motion, Anza Landowner Group filed an opposition. -1- [51CV1247-GPC(RBB)] 1 that the stay “should not be further extended if settlement negotiations are actually at 2 an impasse.” (Dkt. No. 5533 at 2.) In its current motion, it also argues that continuing 3 the stay “will not foster continued good faith negotiations, as it does not appear that 4 any settlement will be likely in the foreseeable future, notwithstanding efforts made by 5 the Court.” (Dkt. No. 5593 at 2.) 6 In their motion, Plaintiffs-Intervenors describe the involved and active settlement 7 actions taken by the parties which include not only attending settlement conferences 8 with the Magistrate Judge but also include completing a number of studies concerning 9 the feasibility of importing water into the Anza-Cahuilla Basin, determining the 10 feasibility of constructing a pipeline, dam and other water yielding facilities that could 11 be used to import water, scheduling meetings with water agencies to determine the 12 availability and cost of purchasing water to import into the basin and scheduling 13 meetings to negotiate each party’s contribution to the water importation project. (Dkt. 14 No. 2292 at 2-3.) In addition to the issue of importing water, the parties have held 15 teleconferences to continue to resolve other outstanding issues. (Id. at 3.) 16 These developments are distinct from the work conducted prior to the previous 17 motion to stay. (Dkt. No. 5532 at 2.) In the prior motion for extension of the stay, the 18 parties focused their settlement efforts on “enhancing their knowledge and 19 understanding of the relationship between groundwater recharge and production in the 20 Anza Groundwater Basin and Cahuilla Groundwater Basin” as this understanding is 21 important to to allow the parties to assess the adequacy of the “provisions of the draft 22 settlement agreement related to groundwater management under the principle of Safe 23 Yield, and to inform the development of a groundwater management plan that meets 24 sustainability goals.” (Id. at 2.) 25 Contrary to the Anza Landowner Group’s position, the settlement process is 26 moving forward and concrete actions are continuously being taken and it appears that 27 settlement negotiations are being conducted in good faith. As the Court noted in a 28 prior order, “[w]hile nine years is a long period for a stay to be in place, it must be -2- [51CV1247-GPC(RBB)] 1 considered in light of the up to 3000 defendants in this case involving complicated 2 technical and legal issues to resolve.” (Dkt. No. 5582 at 11); see, e.g., Central Delta 3 Water Agency v. United States, 306 F.3d 938, 943 (9th Cir. 2002) (stating that 4 management of water resources is one of the most contentious issues in the western 5 United States). Thus, the Court GRANTS the motion to extend the stay by six months. 6 Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the motion is granted and the stay is 7 extended until January 13, 2018. 8 IT IS SO ORDERED. 9 10 DATED: July 25, 2017 11 12 HON. GONZALO P. CURIEL United States District Judge 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 -3- [51CV1247-GPC(RBB)]

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