Groups sue to block south state water district’s purchase of Delta islands

Just days after a powerful Southern California water agency announced it was spending $175 million to buy five islands in the heart of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, a coalition of opponents has sued to demand environmental review of the purchase.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday in San Joaquin Superior Court by San Joaquin and Contra Costa counties, the Central Delta and Contra Costa water agencies, and two environmental groups. It alleges the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California improperly exempted itself from the state environmental review process while the purchase agreement was being hashed out.

Escrow on the sale is expected to close in early June. The lawsuit asks that the purchase be put on hold until a thorough environmental review has been conducted.

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