Ag Groups Prevail Against Environmental Challenges to Irrigated Lands Program

A coalition of agricultural organizations, including California Citrus Mutual, intervened in litigation brought by environmental groups challenging several provisions of the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program.  A central tenet of the environmental challenge was the issue of grower anonymity within the coalition structure.  The East San Joaquin General Order (ESJ Order) was the first of the agricultural water quality orders and is considered precedential for all of California’s irrigated lands regulatory programs.  The ESJ Order allowed reporting of fertilizer use at the township scale, protecting individual grower fertilizer use information from being publicly disclosed.

On October 23, 2020, a decision was rendered by the Sacramento Superior Court, rejecting all of the challenges brought before the judge!  As a result, the Irrigated Lands Program remains adopted by the Central Valley Water Board with grower anonymity within the coalition structure.  While admittedly not a popular regulatory program, the potential ramifications of an unfavorable court decision would have further subjected growers to frivolous lawsuits.  Many thanks to the legal team headed up by Tess Dunham of Kahn, Soares, and Conway!

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