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IID responds to Abatti contempt motion over industrial water

On Jan. 22, the Imperial Irrigation District responded to the contempt of court motion brought against it by Mike Abatti, filing its 15-page brief in defense of its ability to serve industrial water users in its service area.
Post Date:01/23/2020 10:31 AM

On Jan. 22, the Imperial Irrigation District responded to the contempt of court motion brought against it by Mike Abatti, filing its 15-page brief in defense of its ability to serve industrial water users in its service area. In its response, IID argues that its approval of an amendment to an existing industrial water supply contract with longtime customer Ormat did not violate Imperial County Superior Court Judge Brooks Anderholt’s 2017 order invalidating the district’s 2013 Equitable Distribution Plan.

That plan sought to fairly apportion water among all of its agricultural, municipal and industrial users, and was rescinded by IID following the trial court judgment.

IID appealed the trial court judgment to the Fourth District Court of Appeal and, with Abatti, is now awaiting oral argument to be set in the case, which has been fully briefed, and a ruling is expected in the second quarter of this year, according to IID General Counsel Frank Oswalt.

“There is obviously a great deal of public interest in this litigation, which goes to the nature of the water rights held in trust by the district, and the question of ownership,” Oswalt said. “But this latest claim against the district, a public agency, and its duly elected board is frivolous and asks the Court to further usurp the district’s authority and micromanage its operations.

“For this reason, and many others that are contained in the district’s brief, IID believes Abatti’s latest legal challenge is entirely without merit and must be denied by the Court.”

A hearing has been set by Judge Anderholt for Feb. 4, 2020.

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