Cargill drops effort to remove Clean Water Act protections for Redwood City Salt Ponds

Climate Online

Cargill this week withdrew its appeal of a federal ruling that reinstated U.S. Clean Water Act (CWA) protections for the Redwood City Salt Ponds, marking the latest legal victory for environmental groups that have long battled development of the 1,365-acre site. CWA protections do not preclude the possibility of development of the salt ponds, but add significant regulatory hurdles to proposed projects. For years, Cargill has expressed interest in developing the site, including a 2012 proposal to build up to 12,000 housing units that was later withdrawn amid public opposition. In March 2019, an important obstacle to development was removed when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) during President Trump’s administration decided the salt ponds were not subject to CWA protections. At the time, the EPA found that the ponds had been converted to fast land before the CWA’s passage in 1972 and thus no longer qualified as “waters of the United States.”