9/12/2002 Court orders agencies to release DEIR or show cause
Judge Edward Denton of the Inyo Superior Court ordered the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and Inyo County Water Department to produce a Draft Environmental Impact Report for the Lower Owens River Project by November 1. If not, he said, he will issue an Order to Show Cause.

Judge Denton acknowledged that the LORP is a complex undertaking but added that continued delays "in conjunction with history" implied that the project needed some outside party to help move it along. "This court's got to add some muscle to the situation," he said.

The DEIR was originally due in June 2000, but parties to the 1997 Memorandum of Understanding have granted several extensions, including September 2000 and October 2001. Frustrated by long delays, the Owens Valley Committee and the Sierra Club filed suit against LADWP in late December 2001, requesting that the court impose a deadline for the DEIR. After LADWP failed to meet a court-stipulated deadline of August 31, 2002 and announced that the agencies involved might be able to produce the DEIR by mid-November 2002, the OVC and the Sierra Club asked the court in a separate filing to order LADWP to produce the DEIR by September 30 or be subject to groundwater pumping sanctions.

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