Munger Tolles Attorneys File Petition To Protect Salton Sea

Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP attorneys filed a petition on behalf of the Imperial Irrigation District (IID) on Nov. 18, 2014 with the State Water Resources Control Board asking the board to take steps to require the State of California to fulfill its statutory and contractual commitment to restore the Salton Sea.

The state’s obligations arise out of the Quantification Settlement Agreement (QSA) and related legislation. The QSA is a landmark water transfer agreement signed in 2003 under which Colorado River water is transferred for a period of up to 75 years from California’s Imperial Valley to users in urban Southern California and the Coachella Valley. The QSA contemplated that, in exchange for IID to agree to make water transfers, the state would fund and implement a restoration plan for the Salton Sea. IID’s petition filed by Munger Tolles asks the board to condition the transfers on the state’s fulfillment of this obligation.

IID contends that the decline of the Salton Sea poses a serious threat to the public health of the people of the Imperial and Coachella Valleys due to the gradual exposure of thousands of acres of lake bed that would endanger local air quality. The decline of the sea would also pose a serious threat to numerous migratory bird species for whom the sea is a critical habitat.

The Munger Tolles team representing IID includes Ronald L. Olson, Kristin Linsley Myles, Matthew A. Macdonald and Joshua Patashnik.