Great news — another victory in our fight to protect restorable wetlands along the Bay! Today the Biden administration officially dismissed the Trump administration’s appeal of the ruling that the Cargill salt ponds are subject to the Clean Water Act. This means the district court’s decision in favor of our lawsuit over the Cargill salt ponds stands.
Trump Administration’s Attack On Restorable Wetlands
In 2019, the Trump administration declared that the Cargill salt ponds were not subject to the Clean Water Act — going against the facts, the law, and the findings of Environmental Protection Agency staff. Together with our co-plaintiffs Baykeeper, Citizens Committee to Complete the Refuge, and Save the Bay — and represented by Cotchett, Pitre, and McCarthy LLP — we filed suit against the Trump administration challenging this decision as unlawful.
Victory In Our Lawsuit Against Trump Administration
In October 2020, Judge William Alsup with the Northern District of California ruled that because the Cargill salt ponds are connected to the Bay, they are in fact subject to the Clean Water Act. The Trump administration filed an appeal of this decision in December 2020.
Last week, a coalition of nearly 60 elected officials and organizations, including Green Foothills, submitted joint letters calling on the Biden administration to withdraw the appeal. The coalition was led by Congresswoman Jackie Speier and included Senators Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla, as well as dozens of other elected leaders at the federal, state and local level.
Cargill Should Sell the Salt Ponds for Conservation
It’s time for Cargill to abandon its misguided plans to build a massive development on the salt ponds. Cargill’s earlier development proposal, for a city-sized development of 12,000 housing units and over 1 million square feet of office, was met with such universal opposition from residents and environmental organizations that they withdrew their proposal in 2012. Nevertheless, Cargill has continued to threaten new plans for development on the salt ponds.
The Cargill salt ponds are simply the wrong place for development. Not only is this restorable wetland uniquely valuable as habitat and sea level rise protection, but it would be a terrible location for housing — it’s right across the street from heavy industry, it’s far away from transit centers, and it’s vulnerable to flooding and sea level rise.
We’re calling on Cargill to finally see the light and recognize that the salt ponds should be restored to wetlands and preserved as open space in their entirety.