[SCOPE] – In a lightening swift sweetheart condemnation deal consummated during the 2012 holidays, Castaic Lake Water Agency approved the $73.8 million dollar purchase of Valencia Water Company, formally owned by Newhall Land and Farming, and made contractual promises to supply water to all Newhall’s future developments.
In January 2013, Santa Clarita Organization for Planning and the Environment (SCOPE), Friends of the Santa Clara River and Carmillis Noltemeyer, an individual rate payer, filed a complaint with the California Public Utilities Commission regarding the illegal acquisition of Valencia Water Company by Castaic Lake Water Agency.
Click to read the actual decision
The attached Decision in the matter was finalized (Thursday). The Commission set this item as No. 42 on their consent calendar and at approximately 9:57 a.m. the consent calendar, including No. 42 was approved without objection.
This is an unprecedented decision in the water world.
The Decision decertifies Valencia Water Company’s “Certificate of Necessity” needed to operate as a private water company and declares them a public water agency, owned by Castaic Lake Water Agency. They are now subject to the Brown Act and must hold public meetings as well as the Public Records Act. Further they do not now comply with their own enabling act in regards to owning this water company.
The CPUC made statements indicating that it appeared Castaic Lake Water Agency may have serious problems with the legality of owning this water company, not only due to its failure to comply with AB134 (2001 session), but also under certain provisions of the California Constitution that prohibit a state agency from owning a corporation. But it found that such questions were outside its jurisdiction, now that Valencia is a public agency.
Due to the finding that Valencia Water Company is a public agency, the CPUC also decided that they lacked jurisdiction to decide the legal matters in the Complaint, and therefore dismissed it, differing the questions we raised to the Superior Court to be considered as part of the Writ of Mandate case file by SCOPE in February 2013.
We ask now that Valencia Water Co. immediately begin holding public meetings and responding to public records act requests. Also, we demand that Castaic Lake Water Agency divest itself of its illegal holding of Valencia Water Company.
[Read the CPUC decision]
[Read CLWA’s press release]