By Deb Murphy
Mono County hasn’t won the war, but it did win the first battle in its lawsuit against the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s decision to withdraw water allotments to its Long Valley area grazing leases.
Last Friday, the Alameda County civil court indicated LADWP’s request to dismiss the suit was overruled. According to Mono County Council Stacey Simon, “there is no written decision. Just one word on the website that says ‘overruled’ next to the docket entry.”
The County’s Writ of Mandate asks that LADWP be required to provide irrigation water to its grazing leases until the analysis under the California Environmental Quality Act has been completed. The department, in turn, asked the Alameda civil court to dismiss the case on the grounds that the existing leases contained the provision that water allotments could be reduced to zero under any circumstances.
The County’s argument against dismissal: the new proposed, waterless leases were outside that provision since it represented a larger action, a shift in water policies by the department.
“The court thought there was enough there to proceed to the hearing on the merits of the case,” Simon stated via e-mail.