Searles: Judge finds SVM claim ’has merit’

Camille Anderson, spokesperson for Searles Valley Minerals — An Orange County Superior Court judge ruled last Thursday that the legal challenge filed by Searles Valley Minerals Inc. (Searles) against the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority (Authority) for violation of Searles’ water rights has merit and may continue to move forward.

“We are very pleased that the court sided with us and rejected the Authority’s attempt to dismiss our lawsuit,” said Burnell Blanchard, Vice President of Operations for Searles. “Searles has operated in this community for more than 140 years. We have the most senior water rights in the region and that is not something that can be so easily dismissed. We will continue to fight on behalf of our employees and the Trona communities.”

Searles had sought to prevent the Authority from ignoring Searles’ historic water rights and from taking actions that would cause Searles to suffer devastating and irreparable harm, including permanent business line closures and the layoff of hundreds of employees.

Story First Published: 2021-08-13