Eco Watch - In a major setback for environmental groups, a federal judge in California has tossed out allegations that the U.S. Forest Service allowed Nestlé's bottled water operation to take water from the San Bernardino National Forest on a permit that expired back in 1988.
A federal court has ruled in favor of the U.S. Forest Service for allowing the Nestlé' to continue its use of a four-mile pipeline that siphons water from the San Bernardino National Forest.
The decision regards a lawsuit filed against the Forest Service in October 2015 by the Courage Campaign Institute, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Story of Stuff Project. The groups alleged that the agency was allowing Nestlé Waters North America to pipe water from public lands on a permit that had long expired.
U.S. District Judge Jesus Bernal wrote in a Sept. 20 order that since the Forest Service received a request to renew the permit in May 1987, the effort was considered a "timely and sufficient application for renewal," thus keeping the original permit valid.
Bernal rejected the plaintiffs's argument that the Forest Service's failure to act on the May 1987 request renders the permit invalid.
"Plantiffs do not identify, and the court cannot find, any authority holding that an agency's failure to act within a reasonable time" invalidates a special use permit, Bernal wrote.