Jul 20, 2015
PNP comment: This is great news ! — Editor Liz Bowen
News from Pacific Legal Foundation
July 20, 2015
It’s a block-buster ruling for water rights and property rights, and Pacific Legal Foundation played a pivotal “behind-the-scenes” role to help make it happen.
A decision just issued by the Superior Court in Sacramento grants a preliminary injunction to four water districts that were issued curtailment (cease diversion) letters by the State Water Resources Control Board in May and June of this year. The four districts — Westside Irrigation District, Central Delta Water Agency, South Delta Water Agency, and the Woods Irrigation Company — argued that the letters deprived them of the use of their water rights in violation of the due process clause because the letters were issued without a prior hearing.
PLF is not directly involved in the case, but there’s no doubt we played a strong and powerful role in achieving this positive outcome. The trial court relied heavily on the 2014 decision in PLF’s Duarte v. Corps of Engineers case, in which the federal district court ruled that John Duarte could go to court to challenge the Corps “cease and desist” letter that ordered him to stop farming. Just like John Duarte, the water districts here have a right under the Due Process Clause to a hearing before their rights are taken away.
This state court decision is great news for California water right holders and property owners generally. It extends the Duarte holding from the single cease and desist letter individually addressed to Duarte and specifically identifying Duarte’s property, to form letters that the Water Board sent to hundreds of senior water right owners across California.
The pain of California’s drought is bad enough without regulators, acting under emergency regulations adopted by the State Water Resources Control Board, trying to pull a fast one to outright seize water rights. Drought or no drought, bureaucrats will have to answer to the rule of law. No organization is more determined to protect water rights and our constitutional liberties than Pacific Legal Foundation.
Thanks for your support. We hope you see that it is having a profound, and positive impact, in rescuing liberty from coast to coast.
Jul 20, 2015
News from Klamath National Forest, USFS
July 20, 2015
Yreka, CA – Heavy rainstorms over the Klamath National Forest within the past week triggered a number of debris flows, with some blocking access roads. Water, rocks, mud and trees were swept downslope in the Music Creek, Beaver Creek, Grider and Walker Creek drainages.
“Not only did these storms start fires with lightning, in some areas they also brought up to an inch and a half of rain in as little as 30 minutes,” commented Forest Supervisor Patty Grantham. “On steep slopes where 2014 wildfires left extremely burned conditions, this amount of water falling in such a short time frame scoured out hillsides and small drainages and brought a slurry of mud and trees downhill.”
Patrolling for storm damage continues, and to-date 38 drainage pipes on Forest roads have been found to be completely or partially blocked and are being cleaned out. No significant road damage has occurred as a result of these debris flows. Over $1.3 million worth of burned area emergency repair (BAER) work was completed following the 2014 fires in order to safeguard water quality, and protect infrastructure, private property and natural resources from this type of heavy rain event. Storms of the past week have tested these repairs, and they continue to work successfully.
Heavy rain events are anticipated after fires and BAER work is implemented to reduce damage risk. The unusually high proportion of severely burned areas from the 2014 Klamath wildfires increases the risk of debris flows and property damage. “Even when we experience just average-size storms and rainfalls, post-fire landslides are common and expected in many Klamath drainages,” said Angie Bell, Klamath National Forest geologist. “Add water to steep slopes and erosive soils, especially ones where there is no longer living vegetation due to wildfire, and the likelihood of landslides is high.”
Removing vegetation can lead to increases in groundwater levels over time which in turn can lead to deep seated landslides. The 1997 flood triggered a disproportionate number of landslides in areas burned at high severity by the 1987 fires in the Grider, Walker and Elk Creek Watersheds.
As part of the proposed Westside Fire Recovery Project, tree planting activities are proposed for nearly 20,000 acres of the fire-effected landscape. Tree planting will mitigate wildfire effects to landslide processes by reestablishing living root systems on hillsides that will help hold soils in place in future storms.
“The best thing we can do to reduce the risk of landslides and property damage in the future from severely burned areas is to get trees growing on them again as quickly as possible,” commented Grantham. “Just due to the sheer size of the 2014 fires, the majority of the area will be left to reforest naturally. That will be a slow process, and we will be at increased risk of landslides for a longer period going that route. Areas left to naturally reforest will take more than 80 years to attain the same root stabilizing qualities that planted areas attain in about 30 years.”
Jul 3, 2015
On June 10th, 2015, a dozen or more neighbors, in a small valley, located in far northern California, helped some ranchers gain access to their water rights, which dates back to 1863. We went into the river and moved rocks. Rocks displaced by a spring flood event, in order to get the water to flow toward the fish screen, at the mouth of a one hundred year old irrigation ditch. Our neighbors needed help. They had applied for a permit some six months earlier. They watched the river levels dropping, wondering why it would take more than half a year to get permission to do such a small job. Finally, out of desperation, in order to put some water on the crops which provide for their families, more than a dozen of us answered the call for help.
We acted collectively knowing the state would have to make a decision to prosecute all of us.
California Fish and Wildlife is deciding whether to go forward with that prosecution. Cal Fish and Wildlife contends that every surface water user must ask permission prior to turning water onto their crops.
Fish and Wildlife has an agenda. California, using this agency, intends to gain control over all surface water rights in California. Water rights are real property rights in California. There is a priority system to ensure the rights are used under the “first in time, first in right doctrine”. California’s executive agencies have been locked in a battle with farmers and ranchers for decades trying to gain control over all surface and subsurface water rights in our state.
To give an idea of the ridiculous nature of this persecution, one of the potential charges contemplated against us, is the act of “unlawfully entering a wet area.” I never knew it to be a crime to step in the water. There are State Senators, County Supervisors, State Assembly people and at least one Congressman now involved in our heinous act of making a leaky ten foot long rock dam. Oh, and unlawfully entering a wet area. The reason so many of us entered the wet area to help our neighbors get their water? Because we know the Department of Fish and Wildlife is looking for someone to prosecute for failing to ask Big Brother’s permission to use adjudicated water rights. Our community is not willing to allow our friends and neighbor go this alone. Fish and Wildlife will either take all of us, or take none of us!
The open question for the people of California, as well as the rest of the United States is as follows; when is a right, not a right? A property right is not a right when it requires permission or a permit. I am reminded of Ben Franklin when he said, “Property must be secure or Liberty cannot exist.” When permission is required, permission can be denied. Fees are always involved. The State is in a position to price people out of their property rights. When does the Bill of Rights or the Charter of Rights in our State Constitution enter the process?
Article one; Section one, of the California Constitution declares that all people are free and independent by nature with certain inalienable rights. Among them, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property. Why bother to have Constitution when the agencies of the executive can ignore the Charter of Rights, or the Bill of Rights? Why are we forced to ask government every time we want to water our crops, provide drinking water to our animals, in order to provide decent lives for our children? If we are not to be denied Life, Liberty or Property, without due process, how is the executive branch of government allowed to dictate to the people they are supposed to serve, when, where and how, property can or cannot be used and how much it will cost you to use the property you own.
The people of our watershed are waiting for the other shoe to drop. We wait to see if the government of, for, and by, the people will choose to persecute us for using water we have the inalienable right to use. We will not submit. We will not abdicate our property rights to executive branch of the State of California or to any agency of that branch. To do otherwise would be to admit that we have become subjects of the Monarchy called California.
Tyranny rarely fixes itself.
We must all ask ourselves whether our creation, (yes, people created government, not the other way around), has become our master? This is the primary reason eight counties of California have signed Declarations and Petitions to withdraw from the State of California under Article 4, Section 3 of the United States Constitution, to form the 51st State. The State of Jefferson. Rural Northern California has no representation. We must act to restore the inalienable rights to Liberty, and Property for ourselves and for generations to come.
Read more at http://dailysurge.com/2015/07/california-fish-and-wildlife-persecutes-ranchers-over-water-rights/